Thursday, November 19, 2015

Walsh family breakthrough


Searching a common name like Walsh in the wilds of rural Connemara Ireland can be a challenge to say the least.  Add in common names like Mary, Patrick, William and Bridget -- and you get a big headache and a lot of brickwalls. 

Thankfully DNA has come to the rescue and helped me discover a NEW sibling of my Great Grandfather, Patrick Walsh (born about 1844).

A few months ago I got a 2nd cousin hit on Ancestry DNA from a Craig Walsh.  I asked him to transfer his data to FamilyTreeDNA and GedMatch, and voila, he matched other known Walsh cousins at a further distance.  From his information his Grandfather was born in Letterfir, Co. Galway.  It is not too far from my Gt Grandfather's small village of Muckanaghkillew, so looked promising.  Now to try and find the link!

I forwarded the message to a cousin in Galway, who said "Letterfir is just up the road, and there is a Walsh family there".  He promised to go and visit and see what he could find out.  Heard back from him today, and what a bonanza!!!

 "I took a walk today up to Letterfir   I went  ill prepared because I thought of all the questions I should have asked on the walk back any way here is what I learned from John Walsh who is still living there . His grandfather Peadar was a brother of Paidin Liam Walsh  from Muckinagh coille , he moved to Letterfir  circa 1850 , he married when he was 21 to Norah Connelly from Cnoc na Greine near Furbo and they had 11 children . Dudley , Craigs Grandfather would be one of them". 

From this information I was able to find Peadar's marriage n 1865, and the baptism of the first 5 children, and filled in the rest of the children's names from the 1901 and 1911 census. They were the only family living in Letterfir for both years. Peadar was born about 1839, if his age in 1911 is accurate, so he would be an older brother of my Great Grandfather.

So now I have a new Great Grand Uncle and 11 new cousins!!  Now to try and track all their descendants! Amazing that my family lived through the famine in this rocky, remote part of Ireland

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