Ancestry DNA test helped me solve a puzzle

For a couple of months I’ve been trying to establish just how Quinn family from Atticall,  Kilkeel, County Down is related to me. I can report now that I’ve solved at least part of the puzzle. The DNA test that I took with Ancestry.com a few years ago links me to the Quinn family and I made that discovery yesterday. More on that later.

A little background

As I’ve written earlier, John Quinn established the first grocery store in Newry in County Down known as the Milestone in 1909. He ended up doing quite well in Ireland opening up grocery stores in various locations in County Down. My great grandmother Mary Rogers’ sister, Catherine (Kate), listed him as her cousin and her closest relative living in Ireland when she immigrated to the U.S. in 1910. Here is a link to my earlier post if you would like to read more:  catherine-rogers-murphy-cousin-john-quinn

This is a clip of the 1891 England census where my great grandfather John Rourke is listed as a border in the same Birkenhead (near Liverpool) house that Richard Quinn is listed as a boarder. Note that all adult household members are from County Down.

My grandfather’s cousin, Mary C. O’Rourke revealed in a video taken in 1986 that she was playmates when she was in Ireland with two of John and Mary Quinn’s (Fitzsimmons) oldest sons – John and Patrick. John and Patrick later changed their names to the Gaelige version – Sean and Padraig – and fought for Irish independence in the early 1920s. Sean died in the Irish Civil war in 1923 and Padraig was injured and lost a leg in the same conflict. Padraig went on to become a successful medical doctor in Ireland.

Taking another look

Just recently I went back and looked and my great grandfather John’s records. In the 1891 England census he is listed as a boarder in Birkenhead in a home occupied by the Sloan family, also from County Down. I suspect my great grandfather was a relative of the Sloan family. Also listed as a boarder is a Richard Quinn from County Down. John Quinn had a brother named Richard and Richard’s age listed in the census is 20, born the same year as John Quinn’s brother Richard.  Hence, I believe, they are the same person. I don’t believe Richard is related to my great grandfather, only to my great grandmother’s family. I now think it is a possibility that Richard Quinn may have introduced my great grandfather to his future wife, my great grandmother Mary Rogers while they were all living in the Liverpool area.

My theory on how my great grandfather met my great grandmother is speculation, of course. But I still hadn’t solved how the Quinns are related to me.

Yesterday, I believe I found the answer.

A DNA match

This is “paDrakepa’s” family tree. Bridget Quinn appears to be his great grandmother. Based on this I’m guessing that “paDrakepa” and me are fourth cousins once removed as opposed to fifth cousins.

I was looking at John Quinn’s family tree on Ancestry.com created by a Liam Quinn who currently lives in Northern Ireland. Liam and I have corresponded and he floated the theory that John Quinn and my great grandmother were probably second cousins as opposed to first cousins. John Quinn’s family tree records led me to other family trees posted on Ancestry.com and I stumbled upon the Derey Family Tree created by a member known as “paDrakepa.” “PaDrakepa” is a direct descendant of Bridget Quinn, John Quinn’s sister.

I clicked on “paDrakepa’s” member information and Ancestry.com informed me that he and I are a DNA match! We are distant relatives, of course, but we are listed as fifth cousins or later. If the DNA estimate is correct and “paDrakepa” is a fifth cousin of mine, I believe the John Quinn’s parents were cousins of my great grandmother’s parents – either Hugh Rogers or Mary Rooney. John Quinn would have been a first cousin once removed to Hugh or Mary and therefore, a second cousin to Mary, Kate and Rose Rogers. Sean and Padraig Quinn, I believe, were my grandfather and Mary C. O’Rourke’s second cousins once removed.

This is the Ancestry.com chart explaining DNA matches who are identified fifth cousins. For example, a fifth cousin may be a fourth cousin once removed or a third cousin twice removed. I suspect “PaDrakepa” may be my fourth cousin once removed.

Unfortunately, I can’t be assured that my theory is completely correct.  I could be off a generation or two as DNA is not an exact science. What I can be assured of is that I am definitely related to the Quinn family. The evidence is too overwhelming and I think the DNA match has sealed the deal even if “paDrakepa” is a distant as a fifth cousin. They are not related to me by marriage or just close friends of the Rogers family.

I wrote to “paDrakepa” but I have yet to hear from him. I’m hoping he could shed some more light on my on the Quinn part of my ancestry. Now I need to determine if the Quinns were my second great grandfather Hugh Rogers cousins or my second great grandmother Mary Rooney’s cousins. I need to get back to my research. This DNA discovery has pointed me in the right direction.

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