Sunday, January 1, 2023

Ancestor #7: Taking the Indirect Route


There is a manila file folder which has been sitting at my desk since, oh, maybe a million years ago. Truth be told, it has actually been jumping up and down, waving its arms and calling my name for almost that long. I really need to do something about that situation. Perhaps the start of a new year and being in the deep middle of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2023 will help change that.

With the start of this new year—and seven days into my Twelve Most Wanted—we now shift from selecting a target ancestor from my mother-in-law's family to that of my father-in-law. Since all eight of his great-grandparents were foreign-born, this means turning my eyes toward those lovable but hard-to-trace Irish ancestors.

Sometimes, the direct route does not apply when working on such situations. That's when I take the indirect route: I look for collateral lines. And it is a collateral line which has been calling my name for the longest time: the name of the Lee family, which emigrated from somewhere near the border between County Tipperary and County Cork, ultimately showing up in Chicago.

The reason the Lee family has been on my research to-do list is not because they are direct line ancestors, but precisely because they are not. It is the family the Lees connect to which provides their importance in researching my father-in-law's line.

My missing ancestral target is my father-in-law's Flanagan line. His great-grandmother, Anna Flanagan, had a unique immigration story. While I can't yet find documentation for how she got to the United States, I do know that her unmarried brother also ended up in her adopted home in Chicago. Researching that family line led me to the discovery that there was another family in Chicago with whom they were closely related: the family of Johanna Lee.

Researching that Lee line over the years has led to some discoveries, and I've already gotten several of the Lee family documented in my tree. That's still not enough to make some clear connections to the Flanagan line, though. My hope is that, in revisiting this puzzle, I can make some documented connections to Johanna Lee's nexus with the Flanagan line and, better yet, enough information to connect the Chicago family with their roots in Ireland. That will be my research plan for this coming July.

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