Friday, July 29, 2022

What If . . .


When it is easy to come up with arguments discarding a research hypothesis, then what? Can we come up with an alternate explanation?

In the case of finding the connection between my husband's second great-grandfather Denis Tully and his DNA match claiming another Dennis Tully as his great-grandfather, we are somewhat hampered by the lack of available records from their ancestral homeland in Ireland. However, we can observe a few details which may provide us with some leads:

  • The two ancestors, Denis and Dennis, are a generation apart. Denis was born in 1802, while Dennis was born in 1830.
  • After emigrating from Ireland, each man settled in nearly the same Canadian location: Denis in Paris of Brant County, and Dennis ninety miles (or 145 km) to the west in Warwick in Lambton County, Ontario.
  • Each family chose similar names for their children: Margaret, Johanna, Patrick, John.

If it is true that both Tully men were related, it would likely be true that the younger Dennis also came from the area around Ballina in northern County Tipperary. And if the Irish naming tradition still held strong at the time when both these men raised their families, Denis's firstborn son Michael would indicate that that was also the name of Denis' father. Likewise—though he didn't marry or begin a family until arriving in Canada—Dennis' firstborn son Patrick might point us to a possibility for his father's name. If.

While several subscribers seem to favor the idea—undocumented—that the younger Dennis was son of the elder, if the naming tradition held true for that era, it would indicate otherwise. But here's a thought: if the two men were removed a generation from each other, it would be more likely that they were uncle and nephew, rather than father and son.

Could the elder Denis have had a brother named Patrick? It is impossible to tell from the records posted online for the parish at Ballina, as during the time frame available, there is no sign of a Patrick Tully having children baptised in that community. However, there was one other Tully couple of interest who also named their firstborn son by that same name of Patrick. We've talked about that couple before. Perhaps now would be a good time to revisit that family and see if we can extract any new clues. 


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