Monday, January 2, 2023

Ancestor #8:
Looking for the Right In-Laws

Perhaps the key for my family history endeavors this year will be the concept of collateral lines. Especially when it comes to the many brick-wall ancestors in my father-in-law's Irish heritage, there seems to be no direct way to trace his roots.

There is, however, a tantalizing clue embedded in the governmental records at the first place where the Tully family settled in North America: the Tullys seemed to be close neighbors with another family name of interest. That surname was Flannery, supposedly the same as my father-in-law's great-grandmother's maiden name.

Whatever happened to Margaret Flannery, wife of Denis Tully who left County Tipperary, Ireland, to settle in "Canada West" during the famine years, I can't tell. There is no record of her death, only an ominous blank where her name should have been mentioned in census records. No sign in the local Catholic Church cemetery, either. And yet, there are conflicting signs of another Margaret, married to Denis Tully. Included in that puzzle is the fact that there are a handful of DNA matches whose trees note the maiden name of a different Margaret.

A second marriage for Denis Tully? Or did I find a false "exact match" family in Canada for the family which had left Ireland in the care of a mother named Margaret Flannery? It's time to revisit this question, and inspect the records leading to current assumptions.

To help untangle this mess, it just so happens that the near neighbors to Denis Tully's family in Ontario happen to have the same surname as our Margaret: Flannery. With Ancestor #8 of my Twelve Most Wanted for 2023, August will be dedicated to finding further records on Margaret Flannery, learning more about her possible Flannery relatives in Canada and finally, grappling with the question of who these DNA matches are which claim a different Margaret as their ancestor.

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