This is a great example of how these connections started with family stories. The release of the Pennsylvania Death certificates was extremely valuable. The certificates showed one connection was false, verified a second and located a potential third.
Over the last year I had the opportunity to connect with Benjamin Patrick Norris my 3rd cousin 2x removed.
What makes the connection with Benjamin so unique is that we share
Benjamin and I both descend from the children of an unknown Lynam who was born in Ireland.
- Bejamin descends from Edward Lynam, his 2nd great grandfather.
I descend from Bridget Lynam, my 4th great grandmother.
The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates has disproved the my connection. My 4th great grandmother is Bridget Dunn. Her name was recorded on the death certificate for her son Michael McDonald.
"David McDonald to Brit (Bridget) Dunn on 7 May 1825 at village of Dunbyrn, witnesses Michael and Margaret Dunn"
Cary also located the baptism records for two of David and Bridget's children in Kildare, Ireland:
Richard McDonal, parents Davy and Biddy, sponsors John Kene(sic) and Nel McDonald, residence (of parents) Grange
Baptism: 29 January 1826
August 6, 1827: James McDonald, parents David and Biddy, sponsors William & Nelly Dunn, residence (of parents) Grange
Common Ancestor 1: Richard McDonald
Benjamin and I both descend from Richard McDonald born in Ireland.
- Benjamin descends from Ellen McDonald, his 2nd great grandmother.
- I descend from David McDonald (1803-1880), my 4th great grandfather.
Benjamin's 2nd great grandfather Edward Lynam married Ellen McDonald. Family tradition has it that the Lynam and McDonald families may have traveled together from Ireland. Richard McDonald settled in Farmington, Clarion County, Pennsylvania with his son and David. The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates verified this link. Ellen is recorded as Ellen McDonald on the death certificate of her son Edward Lynam.
Common Ancestor 2: Robert Haggerty
Our second common ancestor and our closest ancestor is Robert H. Haggerty (1805-1880). Robert was born in Sugar Creek, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas H. Haggerty and Anna McElroy. Robert married Rebecca M. Easly (1801-1881)
- Benjamin descends from Robert Haggerty's son James, (1842-1843) his great grand father who was born in Farmington, Clarion, Pennsylvania
- I descend from Robert's daughter Anna (1845-1927) who married Michael McDonald (1839-1923) (my 3rd great grandparents), son of Bridget Lynam and David McDonald.
The story that Benjamin had was that two siblings from one family married two siblings of another family - making him a descendant of both families. This connection was originally thought to be Lynam and McDonald. As explained above Lynam is no longer plausible. However the Pennsylvania Death Certificates provided another clue - Richard's great grandmother was Anna Rafferty. She married Richard Lynam. Anna's mother is recorded as Elizabeth Dunn born in Ireland. Perhaps with more research we will be able to determine if Elizabeth Dunn is a sister of Bridget Dunn.
- Benjamin Patrick Norris
- Cary Christopher
- Ancestry.com. Ireland, Select Catholic Birth and Baptism Registers, 1763-1912 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
- Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1944 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.