Monday, May 14, 2018

Dorans and O'Haras from Kilkenny?

I got a new, relatively close DNA match for myself and my cousin on my father's side. It appears all of the ancestry for this match is in Ireland, so I sent an email to them with a listing of my Irish ancestry. They responded, saying that they manage this person's kit but they don't have all of the information on the ancestry of this person. They only know about the tester's father's side and this side didn't contain any names similar to my surnames. However, she said, the tester's ancestry is all in the area of Kilkenny, Ireland and they know that the names Doran and O'Hara are well represented in and around Kilkenny.

I did some searching on Google and Family Search and find this to be true. There are a pretty large number of records of Doran and O'Hara families in this area. I know they are relatively common Irish surnames, however I've never seen this large a number of them in one area, especially both surnames together.

My first cousin, the sister of the cousin whose DNA kit I manage on Family Tree DNA, was in Ireland for her job. Before going and after she got there, she requested details about the family from me, which I happily provided. She found only one Doran grave in Kilkenny, however she wasn't able to spend a lot of time searching. She found what appears to be a popular pub named "O'Hara". She says she was just two minutes too late to meet the owner, Seamus O'Hara.
O'Hara's pub in the 1800s
She also had another find there that I know isn't family related since my Millers are from Germany. However, I can take it as a sign if I want to. I'm going to take this as a sign that I'm on to something in Kilkenny. It's the bar and restaurant named "Matt the Miller's". I mean, how could this not be a sign?

I know, I know. It's just a coincidence. Still, I know there's a lot of serendipity in genealogy. Given this DNA match shows as a 2nd to 4th cousin and all of her ancestry is in Kilkenny, we have to have a connection to the town. Given the town has a large number of Dorans and O'Haras, I can't help but think that's how I'm connected, even if Old Tommy Doran said he was from Donegal. If the FTDNA estimate is correct, this match's great-great-grandparent could be a sibling of one of my immigrant Irish ancestors, whether that is Tommy Doran, Kitty O'Hara, Hugh Kelly or the unknown grandparent of Tom Doran (the younger).

In addition, a person she spoke to in Ireland directed her to the web site Ireland Reaching Out. You can sign up for free. This site allows you to be connected with those living in the area and those interested in genealogy of the area. You could connect with someone willing to do research for you or someone who knows about your family in their town of origin.

--Matt (the) Miller

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