Saturday, February 28, 2015

One Happy Family--In Which Dad Is Proven Right

Ryan reunion circa 1920 New York State

     While I was growing up, I remember my father used to say that all the Irish people in our hometown of Manchester, New York were related either by blood or marriage.  I never paid much attention to that, but I'm starting to think he may have been on to something.  As you know, my Gunn ancestors have been getting all the press lately, and last night I worked on that line til the wee hours.  What I found was amazing.  My recently discovered Aunt Johanna Gunn/O'Connor (1852-1906), who lived and died in Listowel, Kerry had a son William O'Connor, who came to America and lived with Johanna's sister Mary Gunn/Power (my 2X great-grandma) in Manchester.  Upon reading William's obituary, I found that his sister Mary O'Connor had also immigrated!  She married Maurice Mahoney and lived in Palmyra, NY just a few miles from her brother William. 

     Mary and Maurice Mahoney had six children, including a daughter named Marguerite (1916-2010).  Marguerite grew up in Palmyra, and in 1945, she married a young man from Limerick named James C. Quinn who was living at the time with relatives in Manchester.  In 1953, their son James Quinn Jr. was born in Manchester.  He was a few years older than me, but I knew Jim.  I went to school with Jim.  We had the same circle of friends and hung out together and we never knew we were cousins!  (I'm glad we never dated or went to the prom or anything.) Third cousins once removed to be precise--so I guess if we had dated it wouldn't have been icky.  There may also be a connection by marriage to the Mahoney family; Mary Gunn/Power's husband Philip, from County Waterford, had a sister named Ellen who married Thomas Mahoney in 1871 in Palmyra.

     This isn't the first instance of this sort of thing I've found.  Sarah Browne, the sister of Mary Gunn/Power's mother Margaret, married Michael Griffin in Palmyra, and their son Michael married Anna Ryan, daughter of my great-great- uncle Andrew Ryan from Tipperary.

     I know this is cliche, but it really is a small world.  Now I need to go tell my father he was right...

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