Saturday, July 30, 2022

I Came, I Saw, I . . . Discarded


Sometimes, it seems such a good idea to take a certain course of action. It seems right and true—until just about the time we make the plunge and realize it was not such a good idea.

I've been circling this notion of the relationship between my husband's second great-grandfather, Denis Tully, and another Tully man named John who emigrated from Ballina in County Tipperary about the same time as Denis. I've been going round about this connection since I got to research first-hand in Ireland, back in 2014.

Of course, it didn't help convince me to lay down that notion when I found both families enumerated on the same page in the 1851 Canadian census. Nagging the back of my brain was this notion that I had found this John Tully, having moved westward, enumerated as neighbors with the other Dennis Tully, my husband's DNA match, in a subsequent census. What if they were relatives?

Well, let me spare you the gory details of that chase. Of course, I had nowhere to note that discovery when I first spotted it—if, indeed, those were the correct two Tully men. Reconstructing the scenario didn't help. Reviewing all my research notes, however, pointed me to one dismal discovery: the other Dennis Tully's death record. It is not a pretty sight.

Yes, if you've clicked through to find what I saw on that entry, the reporting party—yet another John Tully—stated that Dennis Tully's father's name was indeed Dennis.

I have long learned to distrust reporting parties' ability to deliver correct answers under the duress of tragic endings like the loss of a loved one. I've seen too many mother's maiden names blurted out in error—maybe even providing the name of a relative from the other side of the family. And this is the only documentation I've been able to find indicating any name for Dennis Tully's parents.

So, Dennis, son of Dennis? Perhaps. But I hesitate to accept that the elder Dennis is our Denis. In the scenario I had hypothesized—that Dennis' father was brother to our Denis—a fourth cousin connection for our DNA match would land the numbers (45 cMs shared between these two Tully matches) right in the midst of the possible range for that relationship...but at a lesser percentage likelihood.

Once again, that puts me in a position of closing out a month of research without coming to a solid conclusion. Was Dennis Tully, husband of Margaret Hurley, actually son of my husband's second great-grandfather Denis Tully? Perhaps, as a possible firstborn, arriving before the start of available baptismal entries on the Ballina parish records. But with only the one documented source—given by another reporting party eighty years after the fact—I'm still skeptical. You know I'll always hold out for the hope of new document discoveries. 


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. It's good to be reconnected with other researchers!


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