Crossing the Pond!

There is definitely a trip to Ireland brewing here!  

My cousins and I have cracked a mystery -- we now know that our Flynn family came to America from the town of Doonour, in the parish of Muintervara, civil district of Durrus/Kilcrohane, county Cork.

Awhile back I wrote about how DNA evidence connected me with a second cousin whose branch of the family had lost touch with mine over the years.  Well, that contact has expanded via Facebook to include many more cousins -- and we have created a virtual community there.  I'm so excited because for so long I've felt like the lone voice in the wilderness, and it's nice to find others who are just as excited about the family of John Joseph Hill and Julia Mary Flynn as I am.

My last blog post was a summary of my findings about our Flynn family, including the fact that I had just discovered their origins in County Cork, Ireland -- a huge breakthrough for this "brick wall" family! Flynn is a very common name and it was a daunting task to find our Flynn's in all of Ireland, but at least narrowing it down to a county was helpful.

I was so used to being the lone genealogy wolf in my family that I was thrilled when one of my Facebook cousins found Irishgenealogy, a website run by the Irish Ministry for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.  They have digitized Catholic baptismal and marriage records for several regions.... including Cork!  A simple search on the name of the child together with the name of the parents yielded a goldmine for our family, but I was excited as much for the community that discovered this, as for the discovery itself.  So three cheers for cousin Louise!

From assorted records generated in the United States, we know that Margaret Kelly (b. ca 1830) married John Flynn, and they had seven children in Ireland -- five of whom were still alive in 1910; two had died prior to 1900.  We can identify four of the five living children: 
  • James E., b. 9 Oct 1861
  • Julia Mary, b. Jun 1864
  • Margaret (or Maggie), b. Jul 1872
  • Agnes (or Aggie), b. Jul 1874
The records of Muintervara parish, in the southwestern part of county Cork, indicate that John Flynn and Margaret Kelly had five children, listed in black below.  If you probe a bit more, you will find that a John Flynn and a "Margaret Re-" had a daughter, Anne, baptized 2 Sep 1866. Further, a John Flynn and a "Margaret Reilly" had a daughter Abby, baptized on 12 July 1874. When you look at the original parish records, it looks like the transcriber made an error.  In both these cases the mother's maiden name in the original text looks remarkably like "Kelly" to me, and "Abby" is surely the priest's misunderstanding the name "Aggie"..... Adding these two records brings the total children born to this couple up to seven, all known children matching their American counterparts.  Unfortunately the church records do not include burials, so we don't know more about the other three children, whether they died in Ireland or after emigrating.  

Here's the proposed listing of John and Margaret Flynn's family, with the addition of the two likely candidates in blue :
  • Patrick, baptized 28 Feb 1858
  • James, baptized 20 Oct 1861
  • Julia, baptized 27 Jun 1864
  • Anne, baptized 2 Sep 1866
  • Denis, baptized 3 Jul 1870
  • Margarita, baptized 14 Jul 1872 (this priest wrote everything in Latin)
  • Abby (Aggie?), baptized 12 July 1874
The icing on the cake is the discovery of a marriage record for John, age 40 and Margaret, age 26. They were married on 18 September 1855 in Muintervara parish, and it was a second marriage for John.  Their parents were identified as Edward Flynn, farmer and Timothy Kelly, laborer.  Just for fun, I looked to see if I could find a marriage for either of the parents.  Nothing came up for Edward Flynn in this parish, but "Timy Kelly" married Julia Leary in Bantry on 29 April 1830, and were the parents of Margaret Kelly, who was baptized on 22 May 1831.  Julia was a common name in Ireland at the time, but still, if we find corroborating evidence for the relationship of Julia Leary to Margaret Kelly, the fact that Margaret named her daughter "Julia" would add weight to that conclusion.