Summary – the unconnected Roscommon Stanley families
Update (December 2021)
Since writing the article below, I have carried out some further analysis. The sentence “DNA has shown that there is no connection with my family” needs to be qualified. It would be more accurate to say that any connection is extremely small. Importantly, DNA is unlikely to be of help in determining a relationship. I have re-run the comparisons using a lower level of sensitivity. Some small matches do appear. They are at a level in which the results could be due to random variations. Equally the common ancestor could be 6-8 generations back. This means that I no longer totally exclude the families below for consideration. I will need other means of proving, or disproving a connection. 10 million Americans claim ancestry going back to the Pilgrim Fathers. Only 53 of the original party survived the first winter. This means that 200,000 (plus or minus a lot!) could be related to any one of those 53 people. Unless I am mistaken, the chances of identifying 15th cousins using DNA alone are infinitesimally small. The chance of identifying 6th or 7th cousins in Ireland using DNA is still unrealistically remote.
- James Stanley and Oliver (or Owen) Stanley lived in within yards of each other in Ballyglass when the Griffiths Land Census was conducted. Ballyglass Upper and Ballyglass Lower are immediately adjacent townlands to Clooneenbaun where my relatives were to be found. The maximum distance between the two can be no more than a mile or two. DNA has shown that there is no connection with my family. John, son of James, married Mary Grehan (or Graham) in January 1882. He emigrated to America shortly afterwards. Their first born son, James (named after his grandfather) was born in Cincinnati later that year. I refer to this group as the Ballyglass Stanleys to avoid having to spell out the entire story each time. I am in contact with this line.
- Michael Stanley was born in July 1851. His parents were John Stanley and Bridget Kelly. They married in Creggs Church, in Galway (just across the county border from Roscommon) on 25 August 1843. (This is about 5 miles south west of Clooneenbaun.) Other children include Ellen (born 1857), Lizzie, John, Celia and Patrick (born 1866). DNA has shown that there is no connection with my family. I refer to this group as the Stanley Kelly family. I am in contact with this line as well.
- On the 1901 census, there are four members of a Stanley family living in Island Lower, Roscommon. This is about 3 miles west of Clooneenbaun. These are the remaining members of the family of John Stanley (born 1835-40, died 1900) and Winifred Kenny. I have found eight offspring. Four of these emigrated to Massachusetts. These are Bridget (married William Simpson), Thomas, Mary (no marriage record found) and John. One of those who stayed was Patrick (born 1872 in Cloverhill). I met one of his direct descendants when I visited Roscommon in 2014. I refer to this group as the Stanley Kenny family. As yet, I have neither proved nor disproved a connection to my line.
- There are at least three distinct families called Stanley in Roscommon in the middle of the 19th There may be four.