Friday, October 9, 2020

Tracing the Cullinane Descendants


It was one lone segment on chromosome two—a tiny one, even, with only twenty six centiMorgans—which tied my husband with a descendant of Patrick Cullinane of Boston, Massachusetts. From ample documentation, thanks to those record-keeping Bostonians, we could determine that Patrick's parents were Daniel Cullinane of County Kerry, Ireland, and his wife of the many names, Gobinette or Debora or Abbie Falvey. From that small start, we could spot Patrick's brother who also made the immigrant journey to Massachusetts—Timothy Cullinane and his own wife, Margaret McCarthy.

That, of course, was before Timothy's untimely death from tuberculosis. Since he apparently arrived in Massachusetts after the 1880 census and died before the 1900 census, it seems we have very little to determine whether he left any descendants. After all, his funeral notice gave us no information on who survived him in 1893.

There was, however, one clue, again from those New England record-keepers: Timothy and Margaret had a son whom they named Timothy. Yet the only record I could say for certain belonged to him was his death record. Unfortunately, like his father, the junior Timothy died young. Very young. In the city of Boston in 1891, the entry for Timothy Cullinane's death showed his age as only twenty eight days, having succumbed to pneumonia.

Just to be sure I read the register entry correctly, I looked for a recording of young Timothy's birth earlier that same year, but found only a segment of a record showing a Timothy Cullinane born on September 27. Only the fact that the page was not cut off before the first few letters of the Cullinane address kept me from wondering whether I had found the wrong record. The "15 Thac" was enough for me to see it agreed with the same address in the death record,  15 Thacher Street.

At first, seeing that entry for a life so soon snuffed out—and that of a son whose father died soon after from lung complications, himself—led me to conclude this Cullinane line had no further children to carry on their father's name. How wrong I was.

It took a little bit of reverse searching to flush out a fuller picture, as my first attempt—the direct approach of finding widow Margaret Cullinane in Boston for the 1900 census—wasn't working. By reverse searching, I mean filling in all the blanks other than the supposed child's name.

When I looked for an unnamed child in the Boston area whose parents' names were Timothy Cullinane and Margaret McCarthy, then I began seeing a fuller picture of the family constellation Timothy left behind at his 1893 passing. Expanding my search beyond to provided even more documents to help build out a family group sheet for this couple.

From what I was able to locate, Timothy and Margaret had at least four children. True to his Irish roots—or at least the customary Irish naming pattern—shortly after the Cullinanes' first anniversary, on May 16, 1884, they named their first-born son after Timothy's father, Daniel. Two years later, the couple welcomed a second son, whom they dutifully named Patrick, after Margaret's own father, though he was not destined to live long enough to marry or have a family of his own, succumbing to a lung malady himself in 1915 at the age of twenty nine.

A third child I found for the Cullinanes was their daughter Margaret, whose marriage only months before her brother's death provides the details to help us look for descendants with her husband's name, Edward J. Connarton.

Despite being able to find all these other records by going about the search "backwards," there was much more to learn about this family. My question is whether there are any others in this branch of the Cullinane family who, as direct descendants, might also have tested their DNA—more importantly, whether that test might lead to a match with any other branches of this extended Falvey family from County Kerry I'm seeking.

Besides this now-expanded line of descent, though, we still have Timothy's brother Patrick's family to explore, a task which we will pick up when we continue on Monday. 

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