Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on the Roulston Maguire/McCown Project

There are only four men from whom information is required by William Roulston, not including me. They were chosen by Barry McCain and I, not fully understanding why he limited the list to four, added two other men in error because they match me as well, or in one case even one gentetic distance closer than the four he chose.

In Barry's words "As mentioned, I am sending to you some Mag Uidhir men. The surnames are all forms of Mag Uidhir and Mac Eoin that match Mag Uidhir on the DNA results. These DNA matches confirm that they are all the same family and the fact that these are all known Mag Uidhir surnames tell us that something profound has been discovered. The head of the Mag Uidhir Project informs me that these men are all of the ruling Mag Uidhir family, so this has historical significance. In Fermanagh, one Gaelige spelling of McCown was Ceothuinn, a non standard form of Mac Eoin."

The explanation and the quotation is presented as much to correct my own misunderstanding as to set the tone for future postings. This will be updated when I receive more news about the expected birth of the Roulstons' first child and William's signal that he is ready to proceed. This could well turn into Fibber McGee's closet (for the young among you, every time Fibber opened the closet door, the entire contents fell on him).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

And We Have Lift Off, almost

Dr. William Roulston expects to begin work on my line of McCowns in several weeks. He and his wife are expecting the birth of their first child and that blessed event and it's attendant roller coaster ride will slightly delay work on this project.

That doesn't mean that I have nothing to do, however, because I will be contacting and trying to extract such information as William Roulston and Barry McCain deem desireable as well as necessary. It is perhaps ironic that one such extraction will involve a dentist. He is my best McGuire match to date. The list includes (they all have strong agents): Thomas James McGuire, Joseph D. McGuire, Patrick H. MacAuley,
Bradley H. McGuire, Raymond G. McGuire and Joseph M. McManus.

The specified information needed to date includes: name of earliest known ancestor, his place and years of residence. This information will be used to locate a specific family whose roots are closest to those listed.

We are now progressing from the general to the specific and hope to narrow down the search to particular towns, villages and parishes in County Fermanagh and perhaps County Cavan, southern County Tyrone and part of County Monaghan as well. In this case, while the term parish is used and some ecclesiastical parishes will doubtless yield some information, the term parish is a political subdivision of a county, such as Clanawley, the home of the MacAuleys of Clan Maguire. Barry hints that Enniskillin might well be the center of focus.

This is where the rubber meets the road, time to put up or shut up and get on with it. I can hardly wait and am a bit terrified as well. I hope this is not rememiscent of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride.

Getting this far has been due to the considerable effort and encouragement of readers of this blog some of whom have made valuable suggestions and inputs. While some inputs may not lead directly to history of this family line, they have all been a source of great interest and encouragement to me.

I see that the "official" number of people following this blog is only 3, I have found to my astonishment that there may be upwards of five or six readers and each one of you is either a present or potential help to this endeavor. Thank you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

North Connaught/O'Ceatthain Connecton?

A guest on my blog this morning is Patrick H. MacAuley. Using the Fermanagh Genealogies link furnished by the fair Coane. Patrick believes that we may be on to something here and quotes from the Fermanagh Story by Fr. Peadar Livingstone: "KEOWN (O'Ceathain): also McKeown. McKeown ws a North Connacht sept which may be represented in modern Fermanagh. On the other hand this "Mc" may have been assumed in modern times so that some of these may really be Keowns or O'Keowns".

Patrick mentions that the O'Ceathain were a native Fermanagh family which is found in the Fermanagh Genealogies on page 430. He goes on to say that "I'm taking some leaps here, but perhaps your ancestors
were of this O'Ceathain sept, which may have had a common male lineage with the Maguires. This would be an explanation for your Y-DNA which is so similar to the Maguire pattern. I'm pretty sure that the Maguire pedigree ws doctored after they became leading family, and that prior to Donn Carrach Maguire the Maguires were a minor Fermanagh sept similar to the O'Ceathains. If this therory is true, then we need to check the DNA of some Fermanagh (Mc) Keowns."

I am deeply indebted to both the fair Coane for supplying the research and furnishing the link to the Fermanagh Genealogies and also to Patrick H. MacAuley for his "leaps" because they more than justify pursuing this research. Patrick has been a source of a great deal of information and encouragement to me and I say Thank you Patrick! And Thank you fair Coane!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Further Review

The fair Coane has sent a link to Barry McCain which shows the Fermanagh Genealogies. Barry is considering, from the information contained therein, that there may indeed be a connection between the ruling line of Maguire and Keon (John) of Muintir Ceothuinn and this would be of great interest. He is appealing to friends in Ulster who have even more expertise than he for their opinions to help clarify things. Ever the optimist, I hope for great things from this research in my lifetime. The reason that I am not including the link to the Fermanagh Geneaologies is that most of the four readers of this blog don't read Ulster Gaelic and the link is all Ulster Gaelic. I do, however, occasionally enjoy boggling my mind trying to guess meanings of the Gaelic words.

There is now hope for finding a Coane candidate for submitting a DNA sample for testing. DNA is the gold standard in genealogy because documents have been known to contain errors both intentional and unintentional. The fair Coane does have some Coane male relatives and hopefully one of them will consent to take the easy and painless test. If the test happens and the results show a match between my DNA and his, that would mean that we would have a most recent common ancestor more recent than one of Noah's sons. If a frog had wings---

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coane/McCown Controversy

It never occurred to me that this blog and all four of it's occasional readers would ever encounter controversy. This one is serious because Reader Coane has done her own research while I have relied on
the talents of founder and administrator, Barry McCain of the FTDNA Ulster Heritage Group, The debate, in which I took a solid stand, is a work in progress.

In earlier searches, it seemed that Cowan was derived from O'Cadhain, and that my McCown surname was absolutely not, but rather from Eoghain or Eoin. That turned out to be wretched excess, because said Barry, has now pointed out that there are few absolutes in Irish surnames and the fair Coane has some ground on which to stand after all. If you, for want of anything worthwhile to do, delve in old installments of this blog you will find mention of the name O'hEoghain.

Barry had suggested that this family were connected to the Maguires as ereneghs, a religious occupation. It had been found that at least one of these was surnamed MachEoghain. The O'hEoghains have some anglicized surnames such as O'Howens and Owens. The thought was this was the connection of, not only my Y-DNA but also connected my surname to the Maguires.

The fair Coane felt that I had gone too far in taking such a firm stand on something that I have fewer qualifications than she does. After all, she can actually read obscure, ancient Gaelic documents and Barry has backed off of his stand that there was absolutely no chance that there could be a connection between the surnames O'Cadhain and McCown. Rather than settle the issue with swords or pistols, the genteel means of settling such a dispute is to find an O'Cadhain with Maguire DNA. Alas and alack, the fair Coane has no known male Coane champion to enter the lists and take the FTDNA Y-DNA tests. So, I appeal to all four of you readers to try to come of with such a champion surnamed Cowan, Coane, Coen or Koen to take the test.

My interest in this is that in my line, we have been called McQuown, when gggf Lawrence McCown married Sally McCrae in the Sinking Spring Presbyterian Church in Abingdon, Washington County, VA in January 1815, and McCown when their sons were born and later when a census taker listed gggf Lawrence as McCowen, his son, William as McCown, and his second son, Eli as McKeown in the metropolis of Berrylick, Butler County, KY in 1850. All other records are generally (no absolutes here) consistent with the McCown spelling, although in my working career, coworkers found it easier just to call me Megowan.