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[Bann Valley] William Kennedy, of Grange/Ballymena

Hi folks,

I do have an update since my last email, I was able to have a descended of Samuel Kennedy of Desertoghill Parish/Moneydig tested, and received the Y-111 STR results yesterday (FTDNA # 632870). The distance is 7, my second closest match. With distance 7, I think it is extremely unlikely, though perhaps not impossible, that my distant autosomal match shared with my close Kennedy cousin to a remote "cousin" descended from these Kennedys is actually, in fact, through the Kennedy line, and skepticism was warranted. More likely, the male line MRCA between Samuel and William is still a few hundred years back. But, happily, the match is still close enough to be of interest for discovering and potentially dating new terminal SNPs to fill out the R-A1774 branch.

But on to the quest to break down my brick wall. My aunt did tell me that her late husband was convinced in his discovery of the link of William Kennedy back to Grange Corner in Antrim and Grange Baptist Church, though I still have no documentation. I have learned more about this church and obtained a book, "Grange Baptist Church, County Antrim, A Bicentenary History, 1811-2011", by Norman S Wilson.

Sadly, so far this book has not been encouraging. In all the stories of this church's 19th century history, many ministers, revivals, and so on, there is barely a single name of a congregant; indeed, this early account comes from secondary histories and sources; even the full names (or in a few cases, names at all) of influential early ministers are lacking, and their identities and origins are in many cases speculative or unknown altogether. At the root of the problem is a total lack of contemporary church records, the earliest church minute-book being from 1895. In the subsequent chapters, I have not found evidence of the name Kennedy anywhere, including later membership lists.

So, I was hoping to learn more and possibly contact someone from the church, and while I expect I will at some point, I doubt anyone there has either knowledge or access to records relating to my "William Kennedy" associated with the church who sailed to America in the mid-19th century; even if I found a dozen fourth cousins, it might as well have been in the age of St. Patrick. Short of stumbling across another close family member with meticulous family history records, I'm not sure where to find a trail. Maybe there's a small chance PRONI would have something.


On 11/23/2016 09:40 PM, Nathan Kennedy wrote:
Hello all,

I am also new on this list.

My second great-grandparents are William Kennedy, b. 1841, d. 7 Sep 1880, and Mary Madden, born Dec 1850, died 9 Sep 1920. Both are immigrants to Philadelphia from Northern Ireland, oral history says County Antrim, I have not seen documentation of the county. They lived in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia, and were Protestants (denomination unsure). William is recorded in the 1880 census as working as a carpet weaver. I have a note from a cousin that says he was a linen weaver. This is suggestive to me of a Bann Valley connection. Mary's maiden name is also reported on a death certificate as McFadden, I imagine this is less reliable and probably a corruption. The 1900 census records that she immigrated in 1864. William is supposed to have immigrated earlier, though I have no solid documentation on when he immigrated.

I have autosomal DNA matches to at least two descendants of a Bann Valley immigrant family, on a segment shared with a cousin descended from my William Kennedy. They are recorded as follows:

1. Samuel Kennedy, b. 1779, Ireland
2. Hannah Fitzgerald, b. 1779, Ireland, died 1861
3. Hugh Kennedy, son of Samuel[1] and Hannah[2], b. 24 Apr 1812, Londonderry, d. 24 Oct 1891, Waddington, St. Lawrence County, New York. 4. Jane Torrens, b. 28 Apr 1814, Parish of Desertoghill, Londonderry, d. 15 Mar 1901, Waddington, St. Lawrence County, New York 5. Hugh Torrens (or Torns/Thorus) Kennedy, son of Hugh[3] and Jane[4], b. 29 May 1856, Garvagh, d. 5 Nov 1926, New Rockford, North Dakota

This family is associated with the Moneydig Presbyterian Church.

I have a few other genetic clues on my Kennedys but I won't get into those now. I am very interested in finding any information or connections for William Kennedy, or locating living direct male descendants of Kennedys 1, 3, and 5 above (or their ancestors) in Ireland or elsewhere who would be willing to do Y testing. Hugh Jr. had many children in North Dakota and his descendants spread through the west. I've located one leaf male-line descendant in California but no response as of yet.

I am in the Kennedy DNA Project with kit 563885. Haplogroup is R-M222 (waiting on more detailed results).

On a maternal line, I descend from the O'Hagan family, maybe from Maghera. My fourth great-grandfather Charles Hagin was born 4 Jul 1790, possibly Belfast, died 4 Apr 1829, Lansing, New York. His father Frank O'Hagan was killed in Belfast in the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798; Charles was pressed into British Army and sent to Canada to fight in the War of 1812. He defected to the American side at Fort Oswego and was wounded in the Battle of Lundy's Lane. His nephew Thomas O'Hagan, became the first Baron O'Hagan and lord chancellor of Ireland. Much of this information I credit to the research of a fourth cousin, Roger Hagin and his wife, who live nearby.


Nathan Kennedy

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