Finding a cousin and a genealogical gem with DNA

Taking a DNA test through or Family Tree DNA can lead to some exciting and wonderful genealogical  gems and discoveries. I have taken tests with both companies and each time I find a relative I never knew existed it can lead to something unexpected.

A few months ago I was analyzing my new DNA matches on when I noticed a new match — a third cousin named Kathleen Hickey. I wrote to her and it turns out she is, in fact, a third cousin. (DNA isn’t always a precise science). Her grandmother and my grandfather were double first cousins.

My great grandfather, John O’Rourke married my great grandmother Mary Rogers and his brother, James O’Rourke, married Mary’s sister, Rose Rogers. James and Rose had two children, only one who survived – Mary Catherine O’Rourke. Mary Catherine O’Rourke is Kathleen Stupfel Hickey’s grandmother.

Kathleen sent me a DVD of her grandmother reminiscing about her childhood in Ireland and Liverpool, England where she was born. The video was taken during a Stupfel family Thanksgiving gathering in Oregon in 1984.

These are the things I learned:

  • Rose Rogers O’Rourke was employed at one of the earliest and largest department stores in Liverpool, Bon Marche.
  • Mary Catherine’s sister, Anna Josephine Ivy O’Rourke, died when she was 11 months old after an aunt (my great grandmother?) gave her a mustard bath.
  • Two cousins of Mary’s – Patrick and John Quinn – participated in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, the rebellion against British Rule in Ireland. John Quinn was killed and Patrick lost a leg.
  • My great grandmother’s (Mary Rogers) original family name was McRory. For some reason, the British made them change their name from an Irish one to a British name in order to keep their land.

Mary Catherine O’Rourke Stupfel mentions “cousins” a lot. Those cousins would have included my grandfather, Wilfred O’Rourke. The cousin she cites as writing a relative to ask for a loan to immigrate is my great uncle, also named James O’Rourke.

Enjoy the video as Mary reminisces about her childhood in County Down.


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4 thoughts on “Finding a cousin and a genealogical gem with DNA

  1. My aunt told us one time that our great-grandfather Ned Rodgers had changed his name from “something like McGillicuddy and had to leave Ireland because of some trouble with the predecessor of Sinn Fein.” Since he left Ireland about 1867, the “trouble” might have been some involvement with the Finian Uprising.

    Then when I started researching the name, I found a site that said the name Rodgers used to be McRory, so I think my aunt just pulled the name McGillicuddy out of a hat. Or else she knew more about his involvement with the Finians than she wanted to tell us, and was trying to cover it over.

  2. When I listened to the video it was the first time I had heard that. I always wondered why the Rodgers or Rogers branch of my family had such an anglicized name. I wondered if they were descendants of the Plantation of Ulster, but then again, if that were so, they wouldn’t be Catholic. And, they were all definitely Catholic.

  3. WOW…A GEM indeed, Lois!!!

    LOVE especially verification of family participation in the April Uprising…I had sought earlier to verify this with Uncle Denny; and, he indicated no knowledge of such Irish patriotism!

    THANKS so for this edition of the Irish American Traveler!

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