The Cunninghams and the O'Rourke DNA

DNA strand

Continued from The Carsons and the O'Rourke DNA.

My cousin and I have a great-grandmother named Anna Cunningham so I wrote to two different Cunningham contacts about the DNA matches. The odd thing is that their DNA matched ours but didn't match each other, at least not when I ran the "in common with" test at familytreeDNA.

The first contact person seemed to be handling three related people who all had been tested. We shared approximately 44, 54, and 59 centiMorgans with each of them. Their oldest known Cunningham was a Thomas Cunningham, born in Portadown, County Armagh, in 1854, the son of James Cunningham.

Portadown became a textile manufacturing center in the 1800′s. It seems like a place you would move to when you left home. So their family might have moved there from Ballymadeerfy, near Kilkeel, where our great-grandmother was from. Her father's name was James and she had a brother named James, so their James Cunningham might have been a cousin or so to our great-grandmother.

The second Cunningham match was on a family whose oldest known ancestor was John Cunningham who was born in Ireland and living in Hartford, Connecticut, by 1854. He married a woman named Ann Kelly. Their children were named Jane, John, Mary Ellen, Daniel, Thomas, Anna, and Maria.

Somehow this just doesn't sound like a Kilkeel Cunningham. If he is in Hartford by 1854 doing manual labor, not farming, it sounds more like either he came to America because of the Famine or had enough money to emigrate earlier. And the fact that his DNA isn't a common match with the man from Portadown doesn't help any. It might be that my cousin matched them from one of his families in Connecticut or western New York state.

So as far as the Cunningham part of the test goes, I think the other families can learn more from our research than the other way around. Our Ballymadeerfy townland home gives the first family a "destination" when working backward in their tree.

I said we would save the best for last, so next are the Colgans.

Continued in The Colgans and the O'Rourke DNA.


The image of a DNA strand comes from Wikipedia:File:DNA orbit animated static thumb.png.