I received the following news from Norah Ryan and it is terrific how families are
finding out about their ancestors and how they are coming together and meeting each
other for the first time. The development of the DNA has been a major contributor
to link people together and to establish the fact that they are of the same family
line. More and more people are digging into the past to discover the history of their
family and this is even more important for families who have grown up from people
who had to emigrate from Ireland especially since the beginning of the 1800's. I
have had the experience of meeting with a number of people who have established a
link to families here in Monaghan and it is a very emotional time for them when they
visit the graves of their forefathers or visit the ruins of the former family home.
Norah's story: My ggg grandfather Bernard McKenna was born about 1815 and lived in
Annagha near Mullan, Emyvale. He and his wife Mary had 7 sons that we knew of. Thanks
to Ancestry DNA last year and follow up research by brothers Patrick and Gerard,
we discovered an eighth son called Patrick. We now know that Patrick emigrated to
Liverpool but there was very little contact thereafter.
Through Ancestry DNA Tony Wright came up as a 3rd cousin. His mother was Christina
McKenna, her father Charles James and his father was the Patrick McKenna who went
to Liverpool about 1880. He was a brother to our great grandfather Michael McKenna
(who lived to be 104 and died in 1952). Tony and his wife Phil were both born in
Liverpool and emigrated to New Zealand over 30 years ago where they now have children
Tony and Phil visited Emyvale on Saturday, June 9th. We first went to Emy to visit
Maura(McKenna) and family and cousin Noreen Burke was there too.
We then visited the old homestead in Annagha and met Aidan and Mary Holland working
at the hay. They kindly let us take photos and gave us some information on and history
of the area. Photo of Tony and Phil at ancestral home (Ned's)
Photo of Tony and Phil with Mick's farm in Figullar in the background. We drove on
to Mullan Mills and to Ballagh Bridge close to where our own grandfather James a
Photo Tony and Phil at Ballagh Bridge.
Next visit was to Maggie Deery's (last remaining daughter of James a Ballagh) at
Mullabryan and her daughter Margaret. Maggie and Tony are 2nd cousins. We spent a
lovely time there exchanging stories and looking at old photos.
Our final trip was to Glaslough, looking beautiful in the evening sunshine. We walked
down round the castle and back to Conor's Bar for a nice meal.
We wish Tony and Phil the very best for the final few days in Ireland and have a
wonderful time on the final leg of their journey to San Francisco before returning
home to New Zealand.