Irish Ancestral Heritage

Past stories of my Éire families

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Mr Thomas Edwin MacNevin - Police Magistrate, Coroner & Author
Thomas Edwin MacNevin P.M

Last night, I finally found him!!!
I found an image of a family member that I have been searching for over 5 years. A "eureka" moment.

Born in Dublin - Ireland under a Catholic following, Thomas's parents were Richard Charles MacNevin & Julia Waring.
Thomas was born a few months before a very difficult time in Ireland, The Great Hunger or The Famine. I was to learn a while ago, how much Thomas's Father applied himself to one of Ireland's greatest tragedy's.

Richard was a noted Solicitor/Barrister and was based at 8 Middle Gardiner Street. One could only image, that things didn't hit them as hard, as it was in the Western part of Ireland.

Richard wrote a book, on how to deal with the lands and or the absentee landlords in a civil lawful way. It was a guide on how to sell or obtain lands through the judicial process.
I am in 2 minds on how the book was written, I don't know if Richard wrote it from his heart and the best for Ireland (or the UK), or if he wrote it to help out the Landlords of both sides of the UK (did the hierarchy of Parliament get in Richards ear??).

The resultant of the Famine, created a mass evacuation of people leaving such a green land and moving offshore to escape it's horrid conditions. If you stayed or couldn't leave, you faced almost a horrid death by starvation, or indeed put to work in building infrastructure to earn your keep. A nation's population was culled by a disease - and yes, by all accounts, the Government at the time are also to blame for such a tragedy, by not helping it's people in Ireland.
Thomas's Father and Grandfather (Daniel), were very deeply rooted to the Catholic Cause, as they were very close to the Great Emancipator - Daniel O'Connell. Assisting him in his adventures, whether it be politically or by friendly motives. Towards the end of Daniel O'Connell's life, the MacNevin's turned against him, almost in despising/disowning him. I am trying to see if anything of this nature, filtered down to Thomas, from his Father and Grandfather. Thomas would have been too young to understand it, but he would have learnt about in in future years.

Thomas's Uncle - Thomas MacNevin Esq, was a Poet and an Irish Nationalist, who formed part of the Movement known as "Young Ireland". He worked with Davis, Duffy, Dillon and a few others to name a few. But his Uncle Thomas, died just before the failed 1848 uprising (he was mentally affected by Davis's death).

I am still learning about the resultant of the Famine with this family, but these MacNevin's are helping me in such a way, that it is going much deeper into the Core, of what was going on.
Famine, Daniel O'Connell, Young Ireland Movement, it's all there with this family.

Thomas's upbringing in the Solicitor/Barrister/Law world, was probably his ultimate building blocks to his career as a Judge later in life. Nothing is known about his early life in Dublin.

Whilst in Ireland, Thomas's mother (Julia) dies and Richard remarries to Anne Hamilton. It wasn't until a few months ago, with some help, that I finally figured out where the 2 ladies fitted in to Thomas's life as initial thoughts that we were descended off Anne.

In 1864, his Father - Richard dies and it somehow seems that Thomas decides to head to Australia. Not sure why, but can only imagine that his stepmother may have decided he needed more of a Manly influence?
With help, it was told to me that Thomas's Maternal Uncle - Caulfield Waring, was in Queensland at the time.
This was the area that Thomas first landed.
Soon after he landed in Queensland, he meets Edith Ashworth Snape and marries her.
Thomas and Edith then move to Sydney about a year after they were married and it's where their children are brought up.
They have 7 Children, but only 5 survive childhood. Richard Thomas, Charles Edwin Ashworth, Edith Mary, William Augustine and Philip Bowen. A boy and a girl were born, but I think they may been stillborns?

In 1889, Edith died.

But just 2-3 years later, Thomas remarried to Alice Maud Juckes. Believe the marriage produced no children.

Philip Bowen MacNevin
with his daughter Dorothy May MacNevin
(My Great Grandmother)
The youngest son of Thomas & Edith, Philip Bowen, is my 2nd Great Grandfather and in a way, he is a very mysterious person.
I am in belief that Philip and the family, may have become estranged, as I can find no communication with them, during his life. Philip never became what his Father was. Philip seemed to hit the Shipping/Naval style of life as a waiter/pantry hand/labourer of sorts, both on local and international ships. I can trace a point in time, where Philip was in Sydney around the time of his Father's death, but that's about it.

Throughout his career, Thomas E. MacNevin, becomes quite involved with the judicial system whilst in Sydney. He almost gets the Under Secretary job to the Head of the Justice Department, but is overlooked for that role. He becomes a Police Magistrate and a Coroner. He writes a booklet, to help the Police and Coroner's on how to do their jobs. I'm pretty certain he learnt this skill from his Father.
His court appearances were mainly at the Parramatta Court House, but he did spend time at other, closely located Court Houses. 

Something that I have learnt a lot about and has been sitting in the wind with this line of MacNevin's, is that I don't see any sentiments of hard core Irish Nationalism coming through. In all of the court cases I have seen with Thomas presiding, none of the Irish Nationalism or Young Irelander sentiments, come through on his decisions. I am trying to differentiate Thomas and his Father, with his Uncle on being part of the Young Ireland movement.
It seems that Thomas Edwin, most definitely held un-biased opinions or decisions with the court cases.
Almost as if both Protestant and Catholic persons that were tried in his court, were treated equally in handing down a sentence.
Thomas was held in very high regard with his peers.

Thomas died in 1907, in Sydney. He is buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

The historical significance to this family, is quite mind boggling. And the countless hours of research to find them, is all worth it.

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by Brett Fitzgerald Saturday, November 14, 2015 1 comment

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

This is where DNA technology, has placed my direct Paternal line.

I have drawn up this image, to show how DNA technology has placed my direct paternal line, in connection with an ancient Irish Dynasty called "Ui' Fidgenti".
This data was based from 2 sources - South Irish DNA project and

The actual image is from, you can see that here : A-88 Tree

The A-88 tree is based under the South Irish DNA - Irish Type II - CTS4466 grouping.
The O'Donovan's and O'Collins/Collins form part of the Uí Fidgenti dynasty of Limerick.

The only link in historical references, between the Fitzgerald's and the O'Donovan's/Collins, refers to the disintegration of the dynasty, by the Normans (after 1169 AD), but more placed around the 13th century. Though the dating of the Y-DNA does point, to around the time, when the Norman Invasion occurred (with an estimation of about a century or so, either side of it).

There is a basic historical reference point mentioned in the "County of Limerick" Wikipedia page.
It outlines the connection to an particular era with the Fitzgerald's and the Uí Fidgenti, but does not mention the exactness of the faction of Fitzgerald.

It also has an open interpretation, that the Fitzgerald's may have taken advantage of internal wars and or in particular, the aftermath of it. The most consistent information via my family's Y-DNA, is a close relationship with the Fitzgibbon's and the O'Hearns.

So what we have, is a basic historical reference and a scientific reference - pointing to the same result. But we need to do more research, why we reference the Munster area.

One of the most interesting things (and I suppose quite confusing), is there is an involvement with the Dal Cais people (Dal Cais people are classified as Co. Clare/O'Brien/Brian Boru - or in the genetic term of L226/Irish Type III DNA).
These type of people created some sort of Northern resistance and seemed to push factions of families southwards into Northern Limerick - possibly around 1000AD era. As I have an O'Hearn name in my 111 Marker, their connection to us, seems to fit this trend and may have been pushed South, by the Co. Clare MacNamara's. The recorded placement of the ancient O'Hearn's, was around Sixmilebridge, Co.Clare
The O'Hearn name, in correlation to my Y-DNA, does not support the (Co. Clare/Northern) L226 DNA, but they do support the Southern (Munster) CTS4466 DNA. It suggests and adds weight to the argument, that there was a settlement of O'Hearn's in Munster - most possibly around the Uí Fidgenti area of Limerick.

I have 2initial thoughts with the internal wars around this era :
  • Did the Fitzgerald's invade Limerick just before the Uí Fidgenti disintegration and only accelerate the ending of it?
  • Did the Fitzgerald's invade at the end of the disintegration and take empty lands by default?

Some of my autosomal DNA matches, have Limerick and Far West Cork (Skibbereen) connections, involving the Collins surname. Which plausibly co-incides when the O'Donovan's/Collins people, that were pushed into South West Cork, by the Normans (The Fitzgerald's).
I have not tied up, why my Y-DNA references here, as I still don't know where my surname takes me before the very late 1700's era.
With 100% certainty, I know we were based in Cork City, of the South Parish Church of St. Finbarrs (RC) atleast to 1807. There is some sort of flip flopping between religions, as the Irish Emmigrant - Thomas Fitzgerald, landing in Australia in 1841, was Protestant and stayed Protestant until his death in 1859.

There is also, quite a Scottish flavour to the Y-DNA as well. Is it Gallowglass???
Were they the "Scots/Irish" around 800-1000 AD? Still trying to find how much Viking is there too.
I still don't know how to interpret this. A lot of Autosomal matches between Myself and my Father, show a strong trend with North Irish people under the M222 Haplogroup. This maybe totally unrelated, but it's quite the dominant haplogroup, in closer Autosomal matches.

The only way I can somewhat take out of this, it shows that we seemed to immerse ourselves with the Natives. Could this be showing the "after the invasion" effects of  family immersion to local society?
And, is this where the "Female Fitzgerald" story is coming from?

Jury is still out if this "immersion with society", with my paternal ancestor, was the product of an illegitimate birth or was it the product of a sanctioned marriage?

Pretty intense stuff.
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by Brett Fitzgerald Tuesday, November 03, 2015 No comments

Monday, 2 November 2015

My Genetical information should be having an internal struggle with itself.

Coming up to 2 years since I have done some DNA research. As much as I understand part of it, the ties to historical events is becoming quite clear. Except I just can't grasp the intensity of what it's trying to say. I am a little overwhelmed by what it could prove, in a historical sense.
I am certain my DNA is messed up and is having a war between itself.
Basically my Mother's DNA served Ireland in a politically and "justice by the courts" way, whereas my Father's DNA is showing Irish "justice by the sword" way.

In the past few months, I have found something deep that is happening, finding quite the quirkyness to what my DNA story tells.

So far my Y-DNA, is telling a story of ancient historical significance to around the Norman Invasion.
It maybe also telling the story, that I may have had a Paternal lineage, that was in Ireland "before" the Norman Invasion (as mentioned before, that most possibly our Fitzgerald link was a Female). Everything on what I am seeing, tells me about something happening between the Scottish/Welsh and Native Irish around 1000 years ago.
It was something big and it was happening in the Province of  Munster.

The Fitzgibbon surname is still quite clearly the ultimate link, to finding my roots, as there is no definable "Fitzgerald" there. Native Irish also entangle in there as well.
I am ultimately trying to learn, if I can find a faction of Fitzgerald that I stem off. And are we the only ones of the line? Are we off a cadet branch or off an illegitimate line?

When you read historical accounts of what your surname was part of around the Norman Invasion period, well pretty much was the dominant invader to the natives of Ireland (FitzGerald and FitzStephen aiding Diarmaid Mac Murchadha's cause, of trying to reclaim his kingdom of Leinster). Remember Strongbow wasn't on the first invasion of 1169, as King Henry II - held him back as a part of discipline for siding against him.
Australia's European settlement of 1788, shows a very similar link, to being a dominated by the British (some would say invaders, but there is an open interpretation, if they were here to fight or to colonise with a reduced use of arms). Though the 1788 event, wasn't about coming to Australia to claim back it's "lost kingdom". It also had the intent of moving the trouble makers out of England.

But a few centuries over time, these invaders of Ireland, became part of the natives and immersed themselves in their culture. They then started to rebel against the Crown.
This is why the Fitzgerald name is known for being "more Irish than the Irish".

And my Y-DNA speaks in "volumes" to this story of nativity. It doesn't speak strongly of Viking, it doesn't speak Welsh or English, but does speak Native Irish/Scot. We land in a small pocket of Galloglass names that had English names, but was very close to the native Collins/O'Donovan's.

But again, from what I have seen and been told about with my surname, it still should not tie to Ireland or it's nativity, but should be more of middle Europe. This is why I am trying to see if this male that the Y-DNA is speaking of, is some form of Irish Native / Scot, rather than of Welsh origin.

Now, some of my Autosomal DNA matches, tell quite a connecting story. It is becoming apparently clear, that my parents DNA is "entangled" between themselves. Except they are not closer than 5th cousins.
I have questioned the genetical information between my parents DNA, because they indeed share some of the same DNA matches under the 5th Cousin. I have constantly thought that my parents DNA samples were mixed up, because of the oddity of matches. Certain names that should match my Father's family names, were matching my Mother's DNA and vice versa.
Majority of the links are Irish, but I have a hunch that some lead to British as well. Possibly from the "Planter" era.
It's kind of difficult to identify these links, when both your parents match 1 person and you're not sure which one is more dominant. And is the link British or Irish related.

Stories that are currently dominant.
  • Both my autosomal DNA and my Father's autosomal DNA speak volumes in our top matches to an unusual Scottish/Viking connection, except I don't know which line this extends on. Our Y-DNA shows this story to a cousin branch of the Ui' Fidgenti dynasty of the Collins/O'Donovan's off Limerick/West Cork - which does have Norse connotations.
    Nothing is proven just yet, just very close and very circumstantial.
    Ironically, the Fitzgerald's pushed these 2 families out of Limerick into South West Cork (Skibbereen) during the 13th century - some of the autosomal DNA is picking the Limerick/Skibbereen places via both myself and my Father - This page explains this story - Go to "Later History" part
  • The most interesting thing that I can see, is that we don't link directly to a Fitzgerald line in our autosomal matches, but almost every lead in our top autosomal matches has somewhat of a Fitzgerald there. Quite ironically, my Mother has a Fitzgerald there (Gedmatch) and I am trying to see if the link ties back to her Blood family of Co. Clare.
    The Fitzgerald line that we know of, seems like the DNA has only been passed on by the other parent/partner and we don't know the name of that partner.
    As our Fitzgerald line came here in 1841, I am not sure if we became partially diluted as such to the DNA. This is why I have to use other peoples links to help me either to eliminate or prove certain scenarios.
  • Part of my research is trying to see if there is any evidence that I can tie my Mother's Newenham/Persse/Blood lines (of Co. Galway & Co. Clare) to my Father's Fitzgerald's. Whilst there is inter-connectivity in written history, I have not proven it beyond reasonable doubt.
  • My Mother's Paternal line is unknown from before 1870's. The Booth name (Mum's Paternal Grandmother's maiden name) has a genetical match with Dad. Dad's maternal side has British links and I am thinking there is bound to be some sort of crossover there. Yorkshire, is the base of research.
In a short while, I'll be meeting up with a fellow who shares this ancient DNA story with us, back to the Ui' Fidgenti dynasty. It will possibly include a story that we lived just 1-2 km apart about 20 years ago and ultimately showing that we would have crossed paths many times without ever knowing of our ancient genetical paths.

The world is a small place.
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by Brett Fitzgerald Monday, November 02, 2015 No comments

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