Tuesday, October 31, 2017

DNA of Preston Sheehy Descendants at 23andMe

Another Preston/Sheehy cousin tested his DNA at 23andMe.com. K.J. is the father of D.J., who tested four years ago. D.J. was the first relative I identified from my DNA pursuits.

Below is the family tree of the descendants of John Preston (1857-1928) and Bridget Sheehy (1857-1916) who tested at 23andMe.

Below is the chromosome browser view of the shared DNA between K.J. and his three second cousins. Note the wide variation in the amount shared from 195 centimorgans (cM) to 364.

Also important is that the amount of shared DNA drops when we shift from father to son. The amount was not halved; it was quartered. (This is why it is best to test members of the oldest living generation whenever possible.)

23andMe has an "In Common With" feature. This list shows DNA testers who match you and a target person. In the scenario below, I looked for relatives in common with my mother and K.J. Sharing the same DNA indicates that the DNA tester is likely from their shared Preston/Sheehy lines. One DNA tester, R.S., could be a viable lead.

R.S. shares a segment of DNA with the oldest generation of Preston/Sheehy descendants. The chromosome browser reveals that my mother shares the longest segment and this segment broke in the middle. My uncle received one piece while K.J. and my mother's first cousin received the other piece.

R.S. has no family tree offered through 23andMe. This is a common problem with matches at 23andMe- the lack of genealogical information and interest.

The other observation to garnish from this information is that the amount of shared DNA skews greatly beyond the parent - child relationship. In groups on FaceBook, I often see people trying to determine generations or half relationships based on the amount of shared DNA of people well beyond a sibling relationship. You simply cannot do this based on shared DNA alone.

Please see the latest Shared Centimorgan Project by Blaine Bettinger for the ranges of DNA shared by relatives up to a fourth cousin. The numbers found in my cousin comparisons fall within these expected amounts.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Baptism of Bridget Sheehy in 1857 in Limerick, Ireland

Someone from Ireland (possibly a cousin) wrote to me about my Sheehy and Frawley ancestors of County Limerick. He had seen my blog post about trying to connect my second great grandmother, Bridget Sheehey (1857-1916), to a Sheehy family living in Dutchess County, New York, USA.

He had located the baptism record of Bridget, daughter of Edmund Sheehy and Bridget Frawley, on the microfilm for Lurriga (also called Patrickswell), in Limerick. The date was January 4, 1857. According to the death certificate of my Bridget, her parents were Edmund (or Edward?) Sheehey and Bridget Frawley of Ireland.

Bridget, daughter of Edmund Sheehy and Bridget Frawley, baptized January 4, 1857.
Sponsors were Timothy Sheehy and Bridget Flannery (more possible relatives).

You can view these church records for free through the National Library of Ireland. The site is also an excellent resource for detailed maps of divisions within the counties.

Can I finally fit Bridget into this family?
Created in Family Tree Maker 2017

Bridget Sheehy does not show up in Ancestry.com's index for this microfilm. However, Margaret and Ellen, possible sisters of Bridget, do show up in the index. But Ancestry.com calls this place "Clarina," not Lurriga or Patrickswell.

So I continued forward on the roll (online) from Bridget in the year 1857 to the year 1864 and found the entry for Margaret. Same place, Lurriga, same name, Sheehy. Another clue that there is a connection.

Margaret Sheehy baptized November 13, 1864 in Lurriga, Limerick, Ireland.
Sponsors were John Galvey (?) and Margaret Cosgrove.

Clarina is not listed as an alternate name for Lurriga. It could be. (Researching old New Jersey place names is hard enough.) But I was looking for Bridget in Clarina and not finding either when Bridget was indeed baptized in the same location as her supposed sisters near the birth date I have for her.

Neighboring parishes may also have records on the family, if the records still exist (another roadblock in Irish research).

Note: "Sheehy" and "Sheehey" are used interchangeably here.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Death Certificate Provides Range of Dates for Death

Andrew Newcomb met a sad death in the winter of 1928-1929. He became lost and froze to death. He was missing for over five weeks.

Andrew and my third grand aunt, Emma Newcomb (1855-1890) had at least four children before she died. They lived in Matawan, Monmouth County, New Jersey. After Emma's death, Andrew married Annie McKee in Brooklyn in 1892 and they resided in New York.

I previously wrote about Andrew when the lack of a specific date of death was brought to my attention via Find A Grave.

Ironically, Emma's date of death is also questionable.

Andrew's tombstone reads 1851-1929.

Green Grove Cemetery, Keyport, Monmouth County, New Jersey

Newspaper accounts explained that Andrew left home from Westbury on Long Island, New York in December. His body was found in January of 1929 in Laurence Harbor, Middlesex County, New Jersey. He may have been trying to visit family in nearby Keyport or Matawan, Monmouth County.

The next piece of evidence needed was Andrew's death certificate from the New Jersey State Archives.

Madison in Middlesex County is now called Old Bridge.
(Not to be confused with Madison in Morris County.)

The death certificate explains, "left home Dec 15, 1928 and found Jan 21, 1929."
"Left home Dec 15, 1928 found in the woods Jan 21, 1929. Died from exposure."

This is the (modern-day) map of Andrew Newcomb's starting and ending points. This is not an easy trip to make today because of traffic.

Andrew may have been traveling by train and got off at the wrong stop, Laurence Harbor, which is near his probable destination of Keyport or Matawan. He may have become disoriented. When he left home on December 15th, this time of year is the least amount of daylight. If he did not have a place to stay by early darkness, he was left to the elements.

I have two questions.

First, how would someone likely travel from Long Island to the coastline of the Raritan Bay in the late 1920s? Would Andrew have taken a train and then a boat? Was he dropped off at the wrong port? Or could he have taken a train through the shore points and exited at the wrong stop? (See this link for old maps of the area, including the train routes.)

Second, what date of death is to be used in a situation like this, when the person was missing for over five weeks? The date the body was found? He did not die that day- he was already frozen. The time frame overlaps two calendar years, so neither year is definitely the year of death.