Hello, everyone!

Just wanted to get the discussions kicked off in this ancestry / genealogy group by asking where you've hit your dreaded "brick wall."  How far back have you been able to work through your ancestral line?

Mine came with my third great-grandfather.  The only record on which I've been able to find him is from his son's death certificate where he is listed as the father.  His son was born around 1867, so this likely means he was born in what ... the 1830s or 1840s, right?  Haven't been able to find anything on him, and I'm not sure if he was born in Kentucky (where he eventually ended up) or in Virginia (where the generations preceding him ended up).

Anyway, I went ahead and did the DNA analysis a few years ago so I was able to jump over the wall and get beyond it that way ... but there's still that one or two generations I'd love to be able to locate and link everything up in a nice clean line.

Any tips for me?

How about you ... where are you stuck?

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Replies to This Discussion


Between DNA and good old-fashioned research, I am about 95% sure that William Curley and Hanorah Morrissey of Leaha are my grandfather's parents. Are you descended from them? Have you been in touch again with that possible cousin who is descended from them? I have uploaded my DNA results to GEDmatch (FB21974) and have come up with some very likely relatives. 

Hi Augustine,I apologize for my delay in getting back to you. That's exciting news! My Curleys are likewise from the Leaha townland but I have not been able to connect my tree to this specific family. I will send you a direct email with more info.

I have placed information on Thomas F. Curley and his family on WeRelate. Here is the link to the page for Thomas: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Person:Thomas_Curley_%286%29

I have been putting all of my informatoin on WeRelate.org and encouraging others to contribute. It is a wiki based site, so there is only one page per person/family that all cooperate in updating.

Lately we have connected Tiernans, Gaffeys, and Kilcommonses, who all settled in Monmouth County, NJ, and then some went west (Iowa mostly). 

I have one "Brick Wall" that is frustrating me to no end.  My great grandmother Anna Maria O'Donnell was born 30 June 1852, in Kalamazoo, Michigan according to census records and obits - her parents being Michael O'Donnell and Maria (Sullivan) O'Donnell. After Anna's birth, the family supposedly moved to Michigan City, IN where Anna married Ferdinand Henry Brechtel in 1870, and the new couple moved on to Bremen, IN in 1874. Michael and Maria, however, seem to have simply vanished. I can't find any record of them and have been very eager to just learn where in Ireland they came from. All records say both Michael and Maria were born in Ireland - presumably between 1800 to 1836 if one does the math for them having a child in 1852. I've not been able to find verifiable info on other children they may have had. Birth records only go back to 1867 in Kalamazoo.

I really want to go to Ireland but, of course, can't plan a thing until I know where my ancestors were.  It is my assumption that they came to American to escape the famine, but maybe they went back (?).

Hi, Denise.  You didn't mention it, but I presume you know that the O'Donnell surname is extremely dominant in County Donegal.  Of course, there were a few much smaller pockets of O'Donnells in other parts of Ireland, but the odds are the County Donegal is where your search should focus.  Have you thought about the DNA route?

Hmm....I've done DNA via 23andme but it has not resulted in connections with Irish cousins as of yet. I'll look into the Donegal route. No verifiable results with the O'Donnells in Kerry or Cork, so far.

I'm struggling to find any more information about my GGGG-Grandfather, John Bellew, and his wife. The only records relating to him that I have so far been able to find concern his time with the army of East India Company's Bombay Presidency with which he served first as a Conductor of Ordnance, and then as Deputy Assistant Commissary of Ordnance. Where he was born and who his parents were, I do not know, but I am hoping and guessing that he may have been connected with the Bellew family from counties Louth and Meath, or the branch that settled in county Galway. If I can establish a link from John Bellew with either of those eminent and well documented families then I should be able extend my family tree back hundreds of years - perhaps even to the Bellew who was a Marshall in the army of William the Conqueror. But how do I begin to find such a link, when I have already exhausted every online resource that I can think of? The only option left available to me is to get down to the British Library in London and look through the archives of the East India Company in the hope thta I can find a muster record that will give place of enlistment, place of birth and perhaps next of kin.

Finding information about John Bellew's wife may well prove to be even more difficult. Her name, at the time of their marriage in India, was Jacoba Petronella Mitchell, but she was a widow (her fisrt husband was another EIC soldier - probably Irish - called William Mitchell) and her original surname was Newmeyer. Jacoba Petronella Newmeyer doesn't appear to be Irish, British, or Indian, in origin, so where did she come from and what was she doing in India. I had first guessed that she may have been Dutch, given that the Dutch had been in competition with the British in establishing settlements along the west coast of India before the British came out on top. Then I discovered that there had been two Hanoverian regiments (the 14th and 15th) employed in India in the late 1700s, and that the muster records for the 14th Hanoverian Regiment (available on the www.fibis.org website) show that one of the German soldiers was called Henry Niemeier. Given that Niemeier is just another way of spelling Newmeyer, could this Henry be Jacoba's father? I know this is an extreme example of clutching at straws but I have a gut feeling that I'm on the right path, and this feeling is heightened by the knowledge that a great many of the soldiers in those two Hanoverian regiments opted to transfer to the armies of the East India Company when their service with the German regiments had expired. This would have potentially put them into contact with William Mitchell and John Bellew. My only problem know is that I haven't got a clue what German records exist (did they survive the destruction during WW2?), are they online, have any been translated into English, are there any researchers in Germany who would research on my behalf for a fee??? Any suggestions would be welcome.

I have a family tree that says that my great-great Grandfather Gibbons was born in the Westport area of Mayo. My great grandmother, his daughter, was born in Ireland as well but finding records for all of this is tough. I wish I had more time to work on genealogy as a hobby so I could find out more. I think I've exhausted the free sites and now will have to pay to get more info. I'd like to do the DNA test.

Hello Ryan,

I too have hit Irish brick walls.  One of my Irish 2nd gr grandparents, Margaret Irvin(e), was born abt 1821 in Co Fermanagh.  From her death certificate, I learned her parents were John Irvine and Jane McBride.  Even with this info, have yet to find birth/baptism info for Margaret, or marriage for John and Jane.

Margaret's husband, Andrew Healy, was also born in 1821, Parish of Boyle, Co Roscommon, to Michael Healy and Mary Regan.  Luckily, this info helped in discovering 2 siblings, also born in Boyle.  But, again, no luck finding marriage info for Michael and Mary. 

I'm wondering what search resources everyone is using for Irish ancestors.  I'm an Ancestry.com mbr, but am beginning to wonder if my $$ would be better spent on the Irish-Times site.

Anyone have any suggestions?  Anyone know of useful blogs or websites dedicated to any of surnames above?

I just used google to find some interesting information! All I did was put my Gr-gr-grandfathers name and birth date in and I found an entire family tree that connects to mine and had at least some information that I hadn't recorded before. I emailed the person who owned the site and they responded and we are related. So not only did I find info but a relative as well! So if you haven't tried just using google to look up a name, give it a go! You never know!

But alas, I am still without an exact 'place' in Mayo as to where my ancestors are from... the search continues : )


I'm seeking information on the siblings and/or parents of John Barry, 1810 to 1880 (died in Strathroy, Ontario, Canada), who married Johanna Harrington on 23 Feb 1840--Cork & Ross, Durris (Muintervara). Father's name was Patrick. Siblings might include a Catherine Barry, James Barry, Ellen Barry. Children born in Ireland include Mary (3 Feb 1841), Heteona ( 22 Mar 1843) and Patrick (30 Oct 1845) There is come indication the family might have left Ireland for Canada in 1846.


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