DNA Genealogy Hedgecoe-McKenna

Struggling with McKenna.

This past spring we were contacted by cousin Bill, a descendant of the McKenna line from Rhode Island.  Originally I’d thought he’d contacted us through our site, but quickly realized it was our comparable DNA that had him searching for our connection.  Cousin Bill and I range about 4th cousins.  Which wouldn’t be daunting if I didn’t know my McKenna lines inside and out – Well enough to know that 4th cousins is getting into the murky territory of lost records, the Famine, and the endless questions of what happened in American McKenna lines.
The endless struggling constantly continues with these Irish lines;

   Do we record the families if we can’t conclusively prove relationships?
   Do we even bother trying to sort out which McKenna families traveled where and settled?
   Will we ever have the children of Margaret Moynaugh and Thomas McKenna sorted out?

I know in the past, we struggled outrageously about posting the lines of Michael Joseph McKenna as a son of Margaret and Thomas.  There isn’t conclusive proof that they’re his parents…  There is immigration and settling patterns and naming trends, but ultimately the line could have a different ‘Margaret and Thomas McKenna’ as parents.  After endless months of research in 2012, we finally posted the line as a supposition.  Why?

  1.  We couldn’t DISPROVE that Michael isn’t one of the likely numerous children from that line – And I tried.
  2.  If he isn’t one of their sons, he’s likely a nephew.
  3.  We need people’s attention.  The only way we have to connect with other genealogists and family connections is to post our findings and ask – Does this look right to you?  Do you know anything else that might lead to answers?
  4. DNA will eventually give us the answer, even if genealogy doesn’t.

And ultimately, the only reason not to post our research – Was people copying the information down wrong into their various family trees on different sites – Something I’m not willing to take the blame for anymore.  We’re human, we make mistakes and we’re putting all this out there for you to see – Not to pass off as your own or follow blindly.  If one of us makes a mistake that you copy as your own, it’s not a shame on us.

Every day the opportunity to learn more presents itself.  The internet grows bigger.  Records are added, graves are found, another library adds it’s resources for genealogists to comb through.  Sooner or later, the information we’re seeking will become available, a descendant with the information we’re looking for will step forward, or enough McKenna descendants will DNA test and become viable links to their cousins.


We are making progress – And this is what keeps us going, what encourages us to add to these trees even if we have to study, test, revise, and ultimately crawl through an endless amount of cemeteries.

Success is seen in the case of cousin Bill writing us and bringing his great-grandparents to our attention.  After combing over both our trees the most apparent viable connection between myself and him is Patrick McKenna of Rhode Island, born about 1826 in Ireland.  Patrick married Bridget McCusker and they had issue!

Patrick’s birth and DNA suggest he was also the son of Margaret Moynaugh and Thomas McKenna of Derrylea Beg and Derrylea More, Parish of Errigal Trough in the Union of Clogher in Monaghan County, Ireland who relocated to Chicago, Illinois, United States of America and then to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  Thomas McKenna who worked as a Plumber, like his son – who’s line continues with us today.

But that’s not all.  In connecting the McKenna’s to the McCuskers of Rhode Island, it opens infinite options for genealogical links.  Maybe, finally we’ll have an answer as to why Jane Livingston and Patrick McCusker’s son Thomas left an inheritance to McKenna children – Especially Margaret who was on the 1900 Census with him as his ‘Niece’.

Maybe we’ll finally get some answers about Michael McKenna in New York, who left inheritance to Felix and Patrick and Hugh McKenna and Michael McCusker!  Maybe, just maybe, in all of this there will be a little more proof that Michael McKenna had a nephew in Chicago…  And all our efforts in posting these McKenna lines will prove itself useful.  Only time will tell.

Always one for making things pretty, Jenn is our resident artist. Métis, British Home Child Descendant, family historian and genealogist, she is always looking into some new branch of research and encourages historical preservation and education.


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