This year we have found out so much about our Irish and Polish roots here at Genealogy Sisters. Since I’m the youngest of the family, the memories my siblings share are priceless. This year is dedicated to my sister and my two brothers. Three of our four grandparents emigrated from Europe to the United States. All of our eight great-grandparents were born in Europe, with four from Ireland and four from Poland. Little by little their stories have unfolded.
When we started researching our family history, we really had only had heard a few stories about our grandparents with little hints and stories about them and their parents. By the time I was born, only my mother’s father and my father’s mother were still alive. I’m so lucky to have wonderful memories of them. Now we can identify all of our eight great-grandparents and the places in Ireland and Poland they came from.
Starting with our father’s grandparents we have: Bernard Doran, born in the Ballymacarrett area of Belfast, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1858; Mary Hall Doran, born in West Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland in 1864; John Mahoney, born in Enniskeane, County Cork, Ireland in 1858; and Mary Carter Mahoney, born most likely in Oughterard, County Galway, Ireland in 1868.
We had heard that our Doran clan had often used the Dorran spelling, and we have found that to be true. We had also heard that the Hall family was the only side of our family to have been Protestant, instead of Roman Catholic, and we have also found that to be true. This year with Y-DNA results from Family Tree DNA, we have also learned that an early branch of our Doran family emigrated from County Antrim in the first half of the 1700s to colonial Virginia. My brother’s test and another Doran male matched. Emailing with the sister of the Doran tester has added much to our knowledge. Many thanks to this family for sharing their research with us. From Hall matches with autosomal DNA we have found many more branches, with many with roots in Scotland. To our surprise it seems our Doran side also went back and forth to Scotland from Belfast for jobs and for serving in the British Armed forces.
It seemed like this year our Mahoney / Mahony research really hit pay dirt. We had heard that our Mahoney side was from County Cork, Ireland. This year because of DNA testing, with autosomal testing at ancestry.com, we know where exactly in this very large Irish county they came from. My sister and I had looked at records of another Mahoney family from Newark, New Jersey, and wondered if they could be related to us. The family had the same naming patterns as our family and lived in close proximity in New Jersey after emigrating from Ireland. AncestryDNA has shown that our hunch was correct. With what this Mahoney family had learned and shared with us, we are able to say that our Mahoney Clan came from small villages called Enniskeane and Ballineen, in County Cork. Our Carter clan has always been more of a mystery. We hope next year will help prove that our great-grandmother, Mary or Maria Carter did indeed come from County Galway, possibly to Dublin, and from there to Brooklyn, New York.
Our mother’s grandparents from Poland have always been more of a challenge to research because of the language barrier. With help from distant and close cousins we now know their names and where they came from in Poland: Jakub Mirota was born in Plawna, Poland in 1833; Margareta Tabis Mirota was born in Zborwice, Poland in 1844; Piotr Szczerba was born in Brazna, Poland in 1840; and Apolonia Olszewska Szczerba was born in Bobowa, Poland in 1848. These are small villages in south-east Poland in an area called Małopolski. Our Polish grandparents would also have put down on records that they were from Galicia, Austria, because this area of Poland was partitioned when they were born. With two researchers with shared Polish roots, my sister has been documenting the family histories of this side of our family. With DNA matches we are broadening our family tree.
DNA results can be confusing, but one of the most important things is to look at the shared centiMorgans or CM that you share with a match on an autosomal test. Most of the test companies share this with your results. If you need more information please use this link: https://isogg.org/wiki/Autosomal_DNA_statistics
Here is a chart showing expected results and relationships with your matches. You can click on the chart to enlarge it.
Many thanks to family that have shared photographs and stories and other researchers that have graciously shared information this year. My siblings and I have met cousins, first cousins once removed, second-cousins, and more distant cousins, and with each story we keep the memory of our ancestors alive. Good luck with your family history and research!
Copyright 2017 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.