Monday, September 19, 2016

The Serendipity of Sundays

It sometimes takes the amorphous ambience of a weekend to let the riveting focus of the business week drain out of our lives and allow the ebb and flow of the breath of life to rejuvenate us. Somehow, researching that family tree on Sundays also benefits from the laid-back gift of weekends.

I was mulling over my dilemma with the New Zealand connection to my Falvey family from County Kerry. Mainly, I was wondering what my next move could be. There was nothing definitive out there, as far as records went in Ireland during the 1840s through 1860s, that seemed to finger our Johanna Falvey. Certainly not her husband, the unfortunately-named John Kelly.

So, here I was, lazily poking around the Internet yesterday, letting my mind wander while I caught up on some blog reading. As usual, I made the rounds of my favorite bloggers who make a habit of publishing those "Best of" collectionsRandy Seaver at Genea-Musings, Linda Stufflebean's "Recommended Reads" on Empty Branches on the Family Tree, and for my Canadian roots and branches, Gail Dever of Genealogy à la carte. I ran across a mention of a post by Amy Johnson Crow regarding that well-known advice by Elizabeth Shown Mills about following the leads in your ancestors' "FAN Club"Friends, Associates and Neighbors.

There is hardly a genealogical researcher alive who hasn't been exposed to that concept, but just in case you haven't heard, the idea is that people do not live their lives in total isolation. They move in circles. The people in those circles have a habit of showing up with enough regularity in our mystery ancestors' lives to merit some attention in their own right.

You are probably guessing, by my emphasis on this casual encounter with yet another helpful Amy Johnson Crow article, that I am going to take up the rallying cry and go pursue some Falvey FAN Club members.

If so, you are almost right. It is not exactly a Falvey connection I'm going to followdespite my current quest to figure out the nexus with a gentleman in New Zealand who just happens to match my husband's DNAbut a Kelly connection.

What happened was this: as I do every two weeks, I had just checked the most recent additions to our DNA matches, isolating those who rank at the relationship of second to fourth cousin or closer. A new match turned out to have our New Zealand Falvey connection in common with us. Looking at this new match, pulling up the tree and list of surnames, I noticed one: Deheny.

Deheny is not in my husband's tree. But it has come up in my research, over and over again. The reason is that someone in our Kelly linea Kelly man of an unknown relationshiplost his wife at a young age and remarried. His second wife's name was Deheny.

Because I could never figure out just how this Kelly man was related to Johanna Falvey's husband, John Kelly, I did what made the most sense to me: not plug it into our own family tree. Even though I had extensive correspondence, over the years, with a Kelly researcher from this branch of the family, we never could figure out the connectionso I filed all those emails and notes away in a box. To work on later.

Looks like it is now time to retrieve that box and go through its contents, once again. Maybe this time, not only will I figure out how to connect this Deheny marriage and Kelly relative to Johanna's family, but find a way to explain just how these two DNA matches connect with a person living in New Zealand.

Above: "Parks Place, Knightsbridge, London," 1916 watercolor by Dublin-born artist, Rose Maynard Barton; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.   


  1. Replies
    1. Sometimes, just going back over all the stuff I already have brings on that "new hint" experience. Looking at old material with new eyes can make a difference!


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