I am not concerned with the hundreds and thousands of people with whom I share a name. There are not enough hours in the day to track down everyone. If I find another Stanley living around the corner from a known relative, then this person becomes ‘a person of interest’. I have plenty of suspects in my notes. I need proof. That is why I am making my findings public. The most promising leads are detailed below:
- At the most recent count (November 2022) my DNA test from Ancestry has identified 423 people who are 4th – 6th cousins or closer. Unfortunately, the vast majority are at the distant end of the scale. Fourth cousins could be connected through any one of my 32 three times great grandparents. In my case, these are likely to have been born in the second half of the 18th century. Irish records for this period have many, many gaps in them.
- Simply working on a pro rata basis, there might be a quarter of these DNA connections who are linked to my Grandfather’s side of my family tree. That is 80 people. About 10 of these might be connected to three times great grandfather Stanley. I know nothing about him whatsoever. It is a fair guess that he might be called John, because pretty much every family group seems to have one son called John.
- The most promising DNA lead throws out the name of McHugh. There are two Americans with this name in their tree. They are related. This means that I only need to look at their common ancestors. One of their common lines has been in America since the 17th century. I can rule these out. Their Irish DNA comes from either Patrick McHugh or his wife Catherine Kelly.
- Catherine Kelly (born 1828 – 1833) hailed from Sligo. Both she and Patrick seem to have left Ireland during the Great Famine.
- Patrick McHugh (born 1825) was the son of Fergallus Thomas McHugh and Ann Mullany.
- Fergallus seems to have been born either in Sligo or Roscommon in late December 1793, and baptised early in 1794. He subsequently lived in either Galway or Roscommon (adjoining counties). He married Ann Mullany in 1811. He died in Ireland. As Patrick was born 14 years after the marriage, there are likely to be many other, older siblings.
- In order to make progress with this line of enquiry, I need to find more DNA connections that have identified a McHugh in their tree. At present, there are too many unknowns to be able to make significant progress.
- 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.