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Zeroing In on the Ryans

The birth family for my ancestor Daniel Ryan (1829-1863), continues to elude me, but I feel like I am closing in. I continue to pursue clues that point to a small geographical area in Ireland where I hope to place my ancestors.

The strongest evidence points to a 40-mile tract between the towns of Limerick and Tipperary:

  1. Daniel Ryan first married Jane Lawless (1826-1853) at Peoria, Illinois. Their only child was baptized at Kickapoo in 1852. Several Ryans were buried in that parish cemetery about the same 1850’s time period. All came from Emly, County Tipperary, a small village of a few hundred people. Were they Daniel’s relatives?
  2. Our closest Ryan DNA match at 55.7 cM claims Ryan ancestors from Caherconlish, County Limerick, a village about 10 miles from Emly.
  3. Another DNA match at 42 cM has Ryan ancestors from Pallasgreen, County Limerick, a village about 5 miles from Emly.
  4. Our other DNA matches trace their ancestry to Counties Limerick and Tipperary but do not specify a village.

This DNA and circumstantial evidence tells me that my Ryans may also have lived in the general area of Caherconlish, Pallasgreen, and perhaps Emly. The shared DNA falls within the range to be about 3rd cousins. This would be about right if we all descend from Daniel’s father or grandfather.

I still have not been able to identify a common ancestor among the Ryans of Emly/Kickapoo, Caherconlish, and Pallasgreen. Most of the online family trees go back only to Daniel’s generation. The numerous Ryan families have children with forenames that repeat again and again making it difficult to distinguish one family from another. No one has an ancestor named Edmond, the parent’s name that Daniel reported when he married his second wife.

I did manage to cull one potential ancestor from the group. An online tree for one of the DNA matches claims descent from Mary Ryan (1811-1855), purported daughter of Daniel Ryan (d. 1831) of Inch House in Tipperary and his wife Catherine Brien. According to a Wikipedia article, however, the Daniel who lived at Inch House and died in 1831 was unmarried. Unless Mary was illegitimate, this Daniel was not her father. I am not convinced the online family tree has the correct parents for their Mary Ryan.

Continued work on the family trees of these Ryan matches, and others that are not as strong, will take more time. I am just beginning to learn what Irish records are available to help me with this task. As I dig further into the family lines of our DNA matches, I feel like the road from Limerick to Tipperary holds the key to identifying the ancestral home and connections of my Ryan family.


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