I’ve blogged before about the enormous difficulties I had tracing my Irish great granny. She died young, in childbirth, and all her family history died with her at her new home in Leeds, Yorkshire. We could never find a marriage certificate – anywhere in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland – for her and great granddad. That would normally identify her father, and we knew nothing about her parents at all. The story is that she was nursing near Belfast, and met an injured Yorkshire soldier – late 1890s – and they got married. Well yes, they were a couple, but we’re not sure they ever legally married. And then even when I had census birthplace clues (1901 Ireland, 1911 Dublin) I had trouble finding her birth certificate, cos her birth was registered strangely. And even when I found it I couldn’t be sure all the info I had was right. What if my great granny wasn’t really from Dublin, but from nearer Belfast maybe, where the surname Tate is much more common? But I did trace her, and I found a wonderfully rich and characterful family history.
I’ve made contact with two descendants of Annie’s siblings, and we’ve exchanged lots of info. But I could never be totally sure it was my line, until both cousins recently agreed to take a DNA test to compare their ancestry scientifically with mine and Dad’s (Annie’s grandson). We all tested with FamilyTreeDNA using their Family Finder autosomal test which looks for bits of DNA from all ancestral lines. FTDNA have a huge database of results, and cousins, close or distant, can be matched.
The first Irish result came through today. It was the DNA test of the great granddaughter (daughter’s daughter’s daughter) of Annie’s sister Mary in Dublin. And it’s a match! No doubt. FTDNA even estimate the relationship accurately. Dad is a 2nd cousin once removed of this lady. FTDNA estimated 2nd-3rd cousin, from the shared DNA.
We still await the second DNA test result, for the grandson of Annie and Mary’s much younger half brother George. But I expect it will match. And already, from the Mary result, I can be 100% sure I traced my Annie right. Delighted doesn’t come close to how I’m feeling 🙂