Thursday, June 9, 2016

Another Piece Falls Into Place

     Monday I posted a blog about my strategy to compare the church records of Keyes and White families in Palmyra, NY with those of Rathdowney Parish in County Laois.  My great-great-grandfather James White, the only second great-grandparent I have been unable to find in Irish records, gave his parent's names as Margaret Keyes and James White at his marriage in Palmyra in 1856.  In Monday's blog I wrote about finding a Keyes family from Rathdowney in Palmyra records, and today I've found a White family!  Keep in mind Palmyra was a small place.

     As it happens, there was another James White about the same age as James White Jr., the son of my great-great-grandfather, living in Palmyra.  This unknown James, (I'll call him Jim to distinguish him from the other two), was born in Ireland in 1853 according to his tombstone in St. Anne's cemetery in Palmyra.  I've tried before  to connect him to my James White, but with no success.  Today I decided to take another stab at it and began compiling all the facts I had gathered into a timeline for Jim.  I started with his marriage record, also at St. Anne's, which gave his parent's names as William White and Anastasia Delahunty... wait, Delahunty?!  That.  Is a name I've seen in Rathdowney church records.

     A search of Rathdowney baptisms at Ancestry for 1853 turned up no James White [Jim] born that year.  However, there was a baptism for Peggy White, daughter of William White and Nancy Delahunty.  Yes!  I'm pretty sure Nancy is a variant of Anastasia.  And they were living in none other than Kyleahaw which figures prominently in my White research.  I played around with the search terms on Ancestry, finally settling on surname -White, place of any event - Rathdowney, mother's name - Nancy and a year- 1850 +10.  That did it, I found Mary born in 1848, James in 1850, Peggy in 1853 and Catherine in 1856.  Nancy worked better than William in the search because while one transcription said "William", another was "Ketty", one "Willy" and yet another read "Hilly"; all gave the mother's name as Nancy though.  Sometimes you need to be creative.

     I'm still not sure how Jim is related to my James, if at all, but I've long suspected there was a good chance they were family.  My Grandpa James and William White, Jim's father, could well have been brothers, and there are similarities in the other names.  My James had a sister named Catherine who also came to Palmyra and as I found, William named a daughter Catherine; Catherine here in Palmyra named a son William, and so did James.  Another interesting fact-- when Jim's sister Peggy was baptized in Rathdowney, her godfather was James Henesey (sic).  In Palmyra, the Hennessey family and Whites are found together in various church records.  Still no absolutes, but I feel I'm getting closer everyday.


  1. It's certainly a case of the FAN---friends, associates and neighbors! I love it when I find certain families supporting and interacting with each other. I didn't know that Nancy could be a nickname for Anastasia, but knowing those little things can sure make all of the difference. And you do seem to be getting closer!

  2. Yes, those "Fans" come in handy when there are no other records available.