CategoriesGenetic GenealogyGermanIrishMoranZalewski

23andMe Follow-up

I mentioned in a recent post that I was able to get 23andMe tests for my father and my father-in-law that would hopefully help narrow down DNA matches and also find out more about ourselves. Those tests have been taken, sent in, and now finally analyzed. There were no surprising results, but it does help make a clearer picture of certain things.

With my father’s tests, I was also able to get his mtDNA (or Maternal) Line passed down from his mother’s line. The surnames that it follows would be CORRIGAN > BRAATZ > STEARNS > SCHUMACHER > HEINZ > HETTLER and that’s as far as I have right now. It’s basically a deep German line (minus the obvious Irish one in the beginning.) His mtDNA haplogroup is U4, but the subgroup isU4a3. 23andMe says:

Haplogroup U4 is found in western Eurasia, from Mongolia to central Europe. It arose about 25,000 years ago and subsequently spread with the migrations that followed the end of the Ice Age about 14,000 years ago.

[U4a] diverged from its U4 sister lineages about 21,000 years ago in the region surrounding the Baltic Sea. Today it is most common among the people of the Volga River and Ural Mountains of Russia, such as the Chuvash, Kets and Mari. It is also common among the Baltic and Finnish people of northern Europe who speak languages related to the Finno-Ugric tongues of the Volga-Ural region in western Russia.

That didn’t really surprise me. As for the YDNA line, which I also share, what is interesting is that my haplogroup is R1a1a* which usually means they know you’re R1a1a, but more than likely part of a subgroup. My father’s YDNA haplogroup is found to be just R1a1a, technically putting us in separate groups on the site. More than likely their tests are now more accurate and figured out that we’re directly from the R1a1a haplogroup.

My father-in-law’s tests were doubly useful as both the YDNA and mtDNA info was new to us as my wife doesn’t get either of those passed down from him. His mtDNA line, which follows the surnames: COLLINS > HUIZEL > REINDL > BOHM. The research on this line ends in the South Bohemian section the Czech Republic, which I assume was Czechoslovakia at the time. His mtDNA haplogroup is found to beH5.

H5 appears to have originated during the Ice Age, as the human population of Europe retreated to the few relatively mild pockets of the otherwise frozen continent. The haplogroup appears to have sprung up somewhere near the Caucasus Mountains, or in forests near the Black Sea. H5 is particularly common today in Georgia and in other populations from the Caucasus region. Not long after it originated, a few migrants carried H5 along the southern fringes of Europe into the Balkans and as far west as France, where the haplogroup can still be found today.

It seems to line up with the little amount of data we have on that line. His YDNA line, which we assumed was pretty deep Irish as the surname is MORAN, was pretty close to our assumptions. The YDNA haplogroup was found to be (besides the longest one ever)R1b1b2a1a2f*. There is that little asterisk again.

R1b1b2a1a2f2 reaches its peak in Ireland, where the vast majority of men carry Y-chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup. Researchers have recently discovered that a large subset of men assigned to the haplogroup may be direct male descendants of an Irish king who ruled during the 4th and early 5th centuries. According to Irish history, a king named Niall of the Nine Hostages established the Ui Neill dynasty that ruled the island country for the next millennium.

Northwestern Ireland is said to have been the core of Niall’s kingdom; and that is exactly where men bearing the genetic signature associated with him are most common.Genetic analysis suggests that all these men share a common ancestor who lived about 1,700 years ago. Among men living in northwestern Ireland today that date is closer to 1,000 years ago. Those dates neatly bracket the era when Niall is supposed to have reigned.

Image copyright The New York Times.
Image copyright The New York Times.

Besides matching our assumptions, that is a cool fact about men from that haplogroup. It’s the first haplogroup I’ve dealt with that names an actual (possible) ancestor. It also gives a highly-probable area of where to look for the origin of his MORAN ancestors.

Outside of the haplogroup testing, we’re still using this new info to break down DNA matches. Having at least one parent allows you to know which side a match comes from, narrowing down the research. I’m still working on that. The tests also gave us some interesting data on our Ancestry Composition which I will post about soon.

Anyone test their parents or other close relations and get some useful information?

CategoriesBig NewsCorriganFamily TreeFeaturedIrishPersonalZalewski

Ireland Loses a Daughter

Mary Jane (Corrigan) Zalewski
April 27, 1926 – August 10, 2011

Today we lost my grandmother, Mary Jane Zalewski, one of the world’s biggest fans of Irish heritage. Born in Ashland, Wisconsin on April 27, 1926 along with her twin brother, Tommy, to Maurice & Agnes (Braatz) Corrigan. Story has it that they were born so small that my great-grandmother would bundle them up and put them on the oven door to keep them warm. While in Milwaukee visiting her aunt Ethel Corrigan, who ended up marrying my grandfather’s cousin, Edy Strelka, she met my grandfather, Richard Zalewski. They tied the knot on October 11, 1947 and had their first child, my uncle, in 1948. My dad soon followed in 1951 and then my aunt in 1960.

Throughout my life, they always lived in the little house in Cedarburg, Wisconsin that we used to visit for Christmas Eve and many other times throughout the year. My paternal grandparents were very loving, as most grandparents, but they were also stern. Grandpa would scold us for sneaking into the basement or jumping into the window wells, but Grandpa and Grandma also used to have the greatest toys to play with including the matchbox car track and the puzzles. She was always a big fan of Ireland and anything Irish. Even though she was probably just as much German (and some French) than she was Irish, no one dared to correct her on it. She was a CORRIGAN and she was full-blooded Irish and that’s that!

When I was in my first year of college, my grandfather got sick and passed away on April 18, 1999. It was very sad to me since this was the first major death in my family and the first loss of a grandparent. I didn’t know how my grandmother would handle it. It turns out she did very well with herself. She drove (albeitslowly) where she needed to go, met with friends, knitted like she always did, and was usually in good spirits. Sadly, she fell while living alone and had to move to an assisted living center, but she still made the best of it. I ended up buying my grandparent’s old house from my grandmother and we currently still live here. It’s comforting at times. Unfortunately, during the last few years, Grandma started to forget things and had trouble getting around, but she was her normal self a lot of the time. Even at 85, she still loved her pizza and beer. I’m told that she passed away peacefully in her sleep and now she is in a better place, probably catching up with my Grandpa. He’s probably got the “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” vinyl record already playing on the record player.

You can view the memorial video I made for her funeral.

We’ll miss you, Grandma. Thanks for everything. Ireland has one less fan today.

How do I live without the ones I love?
Time still turns the pages of the book it’s burned
Place in time always on my mind
And the light you left remains but it’s so hard to stay
When I have so much to say and you’re so far away

I love you, you were ready
The pain is strong and urges rise
But I’ll see you when it let’s me
Your pain is gone, your hands untied

Avenged Sevenfold, “So Far Away”

CategoriesIrishMoranWay Back Wednesday

Way Back Wednesday: Moran Family

Charles Moran Family

This is a photo of my wife’s great-great-grandparents, Charles & Emma (DIETER) MORAN, and three of their children. The child on the left is her great-grandfather, Fred MORAN, born in 1891. Basing the date off of the children, this photo was probably taken in about 1900. The other two children are probably the twins, Alma & Allan. Charles was one of the first Moran children of Robert & Dorothea (COOK) MORAN to be born in Wisconsin. The rest were born in Quebec, Canada as Robert & Dorothea must have immigrated there from Ireland and later married. There were a lot of Irish immigrants in that specific area of Quebec.

CategoriesFamily TreeIrishSingle View

Single View: William Henry Thompson

I thought I’d take an Irish theme on the latestentry into my “Single View” post series since today is St. Patrick’s Day. Though, there is some confusion to where this ancestor originally came from.

William Henry THOMPSON was born sometime between 1810 and 1816 in either Ireland, England, or Scotland, depending on which record you look at. In the 1870 Census of Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin, he is listed as being born in 1810 in England. On his headstone, the listing of his daughter in the 1905 Wisconsin State Census, and the Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968 entry, he was born in 1813 in Ireland. In the 1880 and 1860 Morrison, Brown Co., Wisconsin census records, he was born in 1816 in Ireland. Finally, in the 1850 Census of Granville, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin and listed as his birthplace in entries for his daughter, Pauline (THOMPSON) FIRMENICH, he was born in 1816 in Scotland.Adding to the fact that the name William THOMPSON covered about 15 billion people back then, he has been a tough one to find.

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CategoriesIrishWay Back Wednesday

Way Back Wednesday

This is as Irish as I can get today. I don’t have many pictures of my CORRIGAN ancestors before this time. This is the Thomas CORRIGAN family with his wife Emma Jane FIRMENICH (who is also part German and French.) My great-grandfather, Maurice CORRIGAN, is their oldest son. My guess is that this picture was taken sometime around 1913 in Ashland, Wisconsin since their last child, Sadie, was born in 1915 and Lenore looks pretty young. This is also close to the time when Thomas died since he had a stroke just as Emma Jane was giving birth to Sadie. Thomas’s grandfather, Michael CORRIGAN, came over to Canada from Ireland in about 1821.

CategoriesIrishMoranSurname Saturday

Surname Saturday: MORAN

This week I decided to do a Surname Saturday on one of my wife’s surnames, Moran.

The MORAN surname first shows up in her tree with Robert MORAN who was born in Ireland in 1820. We’re not exactly sure where in Ireland. Tracing this name into Ireland is like tracing the JOHNSON surname in America we’re told, it’s very common. I have that problem in my tree with the surname THOMPSON into the UK somewhere.

It looks like Robert first came through Canada (as did my Irish ancestors) and then made it to southwestern Wisconsin. It seems like he immigrated with his wife, Dorothea COOK, who was born in County Cork, Ireland (which may point at Robert’s origin, too.) There is no hard evidence of this information besides some online trees and family information, but it’s something to start with.

Dorothea died in 1872 and Robert re-married to Margaret ENYARD. It says Robert died on 16 Jun 1897 in Tarver, Wisconsin but I can’t find a Tarver in Wisconsin. I’m pretty sure he died somewhere in southwestern Wisconsin. It’s probably an old, unincorporated town. We have a lot of those.

She then descends from Robert and Dorothea’s son, Charles Christopher MORAN, who was born 23 Nov 1864 in Montfort, Grant Co., Wisconsin. Charles married a German, Emma Amelia DIETER in about 1889.

Her MORAN line continues down to her great-grandfather, Frederick H MORAN, who was born on 20 Feb 1891. He married Norma POWELL in 1915. After that it continues all the way down to my wife.

Wikipedia tells us about the MORAN surname [link]:

Moran (Irish: Ó Móráin) is a modern Irish surname and derived from membership of a medieval dynastic sept. The name means a descendent of Mórán, translated as Big One. Morans were a respected sept of the Uí Fiachrach dynasty in the western counties of Mayo and Sligo. In Ireland, where the name descended from the Gaelic, it is generally pronounced (phonetically) “more-in”, an anglicized approximate of the Irish pronunciation. Elsewhere, pronunciation follows the French surname, Mo rant, anglicized to (phonetically) “more-anne”.

Surprisingly, the top countries with the Moran surname are Ireland (obviously) followed by Spain, Argentina, and Australia according to the World Names Profiler.

CategoriesCarnival of GenealogyCorriganIrish

What’s in a Name?

Ireland

My entry for the 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. Here is what this carnival is about. Share with us the surnames in your Irish family tree, but don’t just stop there. Do a little research and tell us the origin of one or more of those surnames, the stories of how they might have changed over the years, or tales of how they’ve been mixed up and mispelled, etc.

The big Irish surname in my tree is CORRIGAN. The name starts at my paternal grandmother, who is always the family’s biggest Irish supporter. I can trace the surname back to Michael John CORRIGAN who immigrated from Killeeshil Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland to Ontario, Canada in the 1820s. The family lived there for many years before my great-great-grandfather, Thomas CORRIGAN, moved to Wisconsin with his family. The history of the CORRIGAN surname according to Wikipedia is:

The Corrigan (O’Corrigan, Carrigan, Corocan, Courigan, Currigan) surname is of Irish descent. Translated Corrigan means “Spear”. The name is believed to have originated from Coirdhecan of the Cineal Eoghain. It is also believed to be connected to the Maguire clan. The Corrigan surname was popular in the 17th century in County Fermanagh in Ireland. Today, the name is spread out across most counties in Ireland and some of the United States and Canada.

Via my genealogy research, I have met and talked to a lot of CORRIGAN researchers, a lot of whom descended from the same Michael John CORRIGAN family. I have yet to trace back into Ireland, besides County Tyrone as listed above.

There are also few famous individuals with the CORRIGAN surname such as the actor Ray “Crash” Corrigan and Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who I posted about in the past.

I actually haven’t run into many misspellings of the name, other than the few listed in the Wikipedia entry above. Soundex usually handles most of the common spelling changes. The few other Irish surnames I have in my tree are MCCANN, THOMPSON, NUGENT, BOYLE and CRONIN, but none of these go as far or are researched as deep as CORRIGAN.

CategoriesCemeteriesIrishTombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday: As Irish As I Could Find

Well, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I am without a true Irish headstone. I have a lot of Irish ancestors, but not a lot of headstone photos for them. Most of them passed away in mysterious, far away lands (like Canada.)

This headstone of my 4th-great-grandfather will have to do for today. From my research William Henry THOMPSON was either born in 1810, 1813 or 1816 and he was either born at Scotland, England or Ireland. I’ve found sources mentioning all three of these. At least it puts him in the United Kingdom, so it counts.

William is one of my brick-wall ancestors. I can find no more information on him or his family. He is also one of the only ancestors that I need to research that has a very common name. I’m so used to looking for surnames like ZALEWSKI or SZULTA, which require a different sort of mindset. I’m not used to getting back 12,000 results when searching. The plus side is that a lot of people are probably doing THOMPSON research, so maybe I’ll come across something.

It’s listed that William married Claude-Françoise QUINET in 1839 in Syracuse, Onondaga Co., New York. I haven’t been able to find any info from here either including using the Onondaga Co. GenWeb site. William and Frances moved to Wrightstown, Brown Co., Wisconsin where they lived out the rest of their lives. They were both buried at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Wrightstown. I did a Tombstone Tuesday on Frances a few weeks back.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

[ Find-a-Grave Entry | Cemetery Entry ]

CategoriesCorriganFamily TreeIrishTell Me Thursday

Tell Me Thursday: Tom Corrigan Family

Click for larger version
Click for larger version

From what I figured out, this is my great-great-grandfather Thomas CORRIGAN and his first wife Ellen FERGUSON (1854- abt 1890.) I had originally tabbed it as Thomas Corrigan and his second wife, my great-great-grandmother Emma Jane FIRMENICH. Then one day I looked closer at it and at Tom and Emma’s children and they didn’t seem to match up. It occurred to me that this was probably his first family since the kids line up pretty well with their ages. Tom was a busy man. He had 5 children with Ellen and then married my gg-grandmother and had 9 more.

The people in this photo (as far as I know) are: Ellen Ferguson and Thomas Corrigan in the back row. Joseph M. and William J. S. Corrigan (or vice versa) in the middle row. Mary Ellen, Agnes Alvina, and Thomas Francis Corrigan in the front row. This must be very close to Ellen’s death since little Thomas would only have been about 4 or 5 when that happened.