Taking a DNA test through Ancestry.com 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 Ancestry.com 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.