The last connection that I want to explore, at least for the present, is that of the Lally family. (See MRCA 2 and MRCA 3 for further investigations along these lines.)  A number of Lally family members have had their DNA results uploaded onto Gedmatch. Estimates of the number of generations back to the Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA) range from 4.3 to 4.9. This highlights the variability in the way DNA is passed down.

A Lally family member has told me that Patrick Flanagan married Mary Daly at St Brigid’s Church at Four Mile House. (My great grandfather John Stanly married his second wife Brigid there in 1865) The exact date of the Flanagan/Daly marriage is not known. It must be after 15th October 1846, because the records exist for a few years before that date. Their daughter Ann was christened on 31st October 1847. Patrick and Mary are likely to have been born in the 1820s. They would be four generations back. I could be looking for a Flanagan or a Daly, or their unknown mothers.

Daniel Lally was born in July 1843. (He went on to marry Ann Flanagan in 1879). He had at least two brothers and two sisters. The parents were Patrick Lally (born circa 1810) and Jane Kelly who was born in 1816/17. Patrick and Jane are four generations back. Given that other evidence points to a Kelly, the common ancestor could be one of Jane Kelly’s parents. As identified in MRCA 2, Catherine Kelly (born 1833) and Ann Kelly (born 1823) could be sisters. Jane Kelly could be another sister. She could be an aunt.

I have made the observation previously that there is a possibility that my DNA connection to the cousins in America might be through both the Kelly and the McHugh side. If this is the case then the science changes slightly. Instead of looking for a single person to match a MRCA value of, for example, 4, I could be looking for two people both of whom have higher individual MRCA values. The technical term is endogamy – the practice of marrying within a narrow group. Sometimes this happens for religious reasons. At other times it is down to the constraints of geography. In sparsely populated areas the choice of potential partners is limited. In such circumstances, it is almost inevitable that there will be some degree of inbreeding. No one said this search would be easy!