Meeting my Irish family

Today I’m embarking on a trip to Ireland and I’m very excited because I will be meeting my O’Rourke relatives, my Irish family, for the first time.

Irish family
This is my Irish family. This was taken when another relative from the United States was visiting a few weeks ago (the woman in orange). Tom O’Rourke is the man in the blue shirt. Bernadette is in the photo at the top next to the woman in the orange shirt.

About this time last year, I was looking at new DNA matches on the FamilyTree DNA site when I came across a Mr. Tom O’Rourke. FTDNA estimated that Tom was a fourth cousin of mine. Figuring he was a man living in the United States, I got in contact with the administrator of Tom’s account who told me Tom was living in Ballintur, near Killowen, the same townland in Ireland where my great grandfather was born.

I was able to contact Tom’s daughter, Bernadette O’Rourke (now Bernadette Cousins), and we have been corresponding for a year. Bernadette lives on the property that is adjacent to my ancestor’s home. We’ve arranged a visit next week and I’m very excited to meet all of them.

Yes, they are distant relatives, but just to have a connection with a family that still lives where my great grandfather was born is very exciting to me.  I have been searching for an O’Rourke relative for a number of years. Last time I visited Ireland, I visited a third cousin, Kieran Waters. Kieran lives in Newry, Northern Ireland, a few miles west of where my great grandfather was born. I will be meeting with Kieran as well and am looking forward to seeing him again.

I will let everyone know how it turns out

Update: Rose Rogers’ baptismal record found

I just wanted to let everyone know I have finally located Rose Rogers’ baptismal certificate. It was hiding in plain site. Rose was my great grandmother Mary’s sister. I hope my third cousins in Oregon, the Stupfel family, will be excited to hear that I have found it.  Rose was baptized on Sept. 29, 1863 in Glassdrumman near Kilkeel in what is now Northern Ireland. Kilkeel is just a few miles east of where my O’Rourke relatives lived.

The entry for Rose Roger’s baptism. You can clearly see Hugh and Mary are her parents. Witnesses were James Harper and Mary Anne Rogers.
The entire page where Rose’s baptismal record is found.

Two years ago, I downloaded some documentation from the Roots Ireland site and I found it on my computer the other day. When I opened one of the files and it was Rose’s baptismal record. I had no idea I had it. I think I didn’t realize it’s significance when I downloaded it. In fact, I’m not even sure if I knew she was my great grandmother’s sister back then.

This morning I received an email from my new genealogy friend in Australia, Dermot Balson. I had contacted him to let him know I found it. He sent me a screen shot of the original baptismal record and I will include it in this post.

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8 thoughts on “Meeting my Irish family

  1. Have a wonderful trip. Rose Roger’s was my great grandmother and thank you for finding the information. I will let my 94 year old dad know. He will be pleased.
    Anne Stupfel Fernando

  2. HEARTY greetings, to our newly discovered cousins! How exciting as to their “location”-adjacent to our GGF’s birthplace.
    May you ENJOY a(nother) trip to Ireland! And, please give my best to Kieran and his family. Indeed, hope to meet him next year.

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