Friday, March 6, 2015

Well No Wonder They Weren't In The Civil Registration Index

     The match was labelled, "Third to fourth cousin, confidence extremely high".  That seemed promising.  I'm talking about's DNA matching system of course.  Upon opening the family tree submitted to Ancestry by my Dad's, (and my), match, the lone surname I found of any significance was Quigley.  My McGarr great-great-grandmother Maria had a sister named Ann who married James Quigley back in Baltinglass parish in Ireland in 1858, could this match be part of that family?  I clicked on the name Elizabeth Quigley in the tree, and was disappointed to find no parents names given.  She was born in 1907 however, so she should be in the 1910 census.  Hopefully with her parents and any siblings.  I searched for her in that census, and found her living in Rochester, NY with her family.  

     Elizabeth's father was John Quigley, her mother Ann-- both from Ireland.  Next step was finding John in earlier census records which proved fairly easy, he was in Rochester from 1892 and every year thereafter through 1930.  I checked the federal censuses first, then the New York State censuses.  What I found in 1892 floored me.  John was living with Ann Quigley, an older widow, and a younger man named Daniel Quigley.  Check, check, check.  The John Quigley in my tree had a younger brother named Daniel, and his mother was named Ann.  Their ages were not exactly what they should be, but close.  I hadn't found the elder Ann Quigley in 1900; didn't even know to look for her since I hadn't yet viewed the 1892 census.  I went back and found her still in Rochester in 1900, still living with her son Daniel.  I also found in that census that she had given birth to five children, all still alive.  I knew from Baltinglass baptismal records that Ann McGarr Quigley had in fact been the mother of five! Things were really starting to add up, could it possibly be them?

     Neither John nor his wife, (the younger Ann),  appeared in the 1940 census, so they must have died between 1930 and 40.  What I needed was a really descriptive obituary, but after searching every site I could think of I found nothing for John; I did however find his wife's obituary dated 1934 that described her as a widow.  That narrowed the date of John's death considerably.  After trying some creative searches, I finally found what I was looking for.  John died on November 21st in 1931.  His obituary opened with the line--"John Quigley, a native of county Wicklow."  Check!  The Quigley family did indeed live in Wicklow, just across its border with Kildare. I was getting a little excited now.  John's parent's names weren't included in his obituary unfortunately, but after giving some thought to where else I might expect to find their names, I thought of his marriage record and remembered the ongoing Rochester Churches Indexing Project.  

     Twenty five Catholic parishes are indexed here, and browsing the list I noticed Immaculate Conception.  John's obituary said he  was buried from Immaculate Conception, maybe he was married there too, it was worth a try.  I filled in the surname Quigley on the marriage search form, selected Immaculate Conception, and hit the search button. The second result was John marrying Ann, (aka Anna,), Doyle, and to my utter amazement and delight, John's parents, "James and Anna McGarra".  It was them!  It really was them!  Ann McGarr Quigley, the fourth daughter of Daniel and Ann Donahoe McGarr had come to America just like her three older sisters.  Only Sarah, the fifth and youngest McGarr daughter, remained in Ballyraggan, where with her husband Thomas Hughes she inherited the lease on her father's farm at his death.

      I found long ago what I believe to be Ann's husband James Quigley's death in the Irish Civil Registration index in the year 1869; so unless it was a different James who died that year, Ann was a widow when she emigrated.  I'm still so jazzed about finding this, all thanks to that DNA test.  I had absolutely no idea Ann and her children came to America. Now I must go begin the re-writes on my McGarr family history...


  1. Wow, that’s so exciting Ellie. So far, I've learned nothing new from my DNA tests. Maybe, I need to make a bigger effort.

  2. I think I found this one because my Dad, being a generation older, was a closer cousin to the Quigley family. I haven't been paying alot of attention to the distant cousins. I'm glad I had him tested.