Along with many people I have always been sceptical that DNA analysis can help the man in the street to find new relatives or trace ancestors, especially as claimed by the TV program that has a little man sitting in a box and sending 'celebs' across the world to meet their DNA matches. However, I allowed myself to be persuaded into getting mine done and the day that my results came through from, everything changed! There on my computer screen was a long list of DNA matches, several very strong and within a day I was in contact with an unknown American branch of the Farrell family and I had almost certainly found an uncle who had not been heard of since he emigrated from Ireland to the USA nearly 150 years ago!

This web-page will serve as a diary and record of findings as I proceed with research based on the matches thus identified.

NOTE: 'Matches' involve 3 different types of people, namely (1) Enthusiastic users with large public trees, always ready to cooperate in research. (2) Users with private trees who prefer not to communicate, and (3) People who have used Ancestry to obtain their DNAs but do not have trees and seemingly have no further interest.

MATCH No 1(Extremely high) - Schaefer627 - 3rd/4th cousin. Finding Mr Schaefer's connection did not take long as we share gt gt grandparents George & Mary Anne Fleming (See above) and a simple search revealed familiar names. Mr Schaefer does not have a family tree and has not so far responded to a contact attempt, there being no particular reason why he should wish to communicate anyway.

MATCH No. 2. (Extremely high) - Julie (nee Farrell) 4th-6th cousin.

We know that my 3 x great grandfather was Patrick Farrell, Gentleman (see inset), of 4 Harcourt Place, Dublin, proprietor of a Metal Works. One of his children, also Patrick, was in the business and lived in Cumberland St (S), in the same city block. The latter had a son, Peter, who became my gt grandfather. Things went badly wrong circa 1868-70 when both Patricks died, the business seemingly failed and Peter was sent off, aged 15, to join the Royal Navy, rarely, if ever, to see his family again. A story passed down maintained that a John Farrell, another member of the family, possibly cousin or uncle to Peter, together with his brother, had gone to the USA, fought in the civil war as an officer, but had since lost all family contact. Efforts by my parents to trace him had been fruitless. Then came my DNA results! When I contacted Julie she was highly delighted, having joined Ancestry only in order to research her gt gt grandfather's origins and we soon confirmed that John Farrell must be our common ancestor. The story passed down by the USA  Farrells is that John appeared in the Iowa region circa 1875 aged about 22; that he met Rosa and married in 1880; had a son in 1881; messily divorced in 1884; thereafter saw his son only once and left no record of what happened to him. Rumour had it that he returned to Ireland and participated in the 1916 uprising, but no proof has been found.


In order to match the two stories from opposite sides of the Atlantic we have to take DNA guidelines into account, particularly the fact that 4th cousins are likely to share 3 x gt grandparents. As the above tree illustrates, therefore, for Julie and I to be 4th cousins, John Farrell must have been Patrick Junior's brother and perhaps their 30 year age difference needs explaining! Well, during the 19th century large families, spread over 20-30 years were quite normal and for a man to continue fathering children into his sixties or seventies was not unusual, particularly if he had 2 or more wives during his lifetime, there being a high birth mortality rate in both babies and mothers. Being only 2 or 3 years older than his nephew Peter, at the time of the family's collapse in fortunes and deaths of his parents, John might have been shipped off to America, much as Peter was shipped off (literally) to England. This conclusion does not, however, take care of the story that John served in the Civil War. Intriguingly, John could thereafter have married again, or at least fathered more children and one way of finding any will be to follow up on more of my DNA matches, particularly where the name Farrell appears in a tree.

Another extremely high MATCH No 3, - Edward Hunter. 4th to 6th cousin, is almost certainly another Fleming  descendent, a Canadian living in the USA. A message of inquiry revealed that Mr H had spent some of his childhood in Wilberforce Ontario. He has been given background information on the Fleming family and I hope to receive clarification of his relationship for the family tree.

MATCHES 4 - Seven "very to extremely high" matches belong to other known members of Julie's extended family, which is large in number and scattered all over the USA! One (SG) has a tree developed and managed by cousin Julie, being almost identical to hers, the remainder having only had their DNAs analysed.The photo (inset) is of Patrick (Sen) Farrell's home in Dublin (green door). Through the archway there used to be the yard and workshops belonging to the family business, 'metal workers and bell hangers'.

MATCH 5 -The next 'very high" match of note is that of a lady named Courtney D_______, nee Hook, also a 4th-6th cousin, who has a tree of 80 people and has not logged in since March '18. Using Ancestry guidelines it is likely that we have common gt gt gt grandparents, in which case her tree would indicate either Geo Hook b 1836 of Shalford, Surrey'; & his wife Mary A. ???? b 1835 from Suffolk; or Erastus Smith Ashley b 1840 Huron Ohio; his wife Mary Ann White ditto; or George Skakaczi & wife Elizabeth Tanyi; or John Barilla & Suzanna Toth; or Mathew Maji & Mary Malla; or couples Freeman, Nielsen, Harris, Joseph, and Reti as potential candidates for identifying same. Unfortunately none of the aforementioned names appear in my tree, but Courtney's 4x gt grandmother was a Eunice Smith (1781-1856) born Mass. USA and my gt gt grandmother Mary A Fleming was born Smith. Any help? - No, but the only lead available first off. However, it is possible to see if any other of my matches are shared with Courtney and sure enough a zbrassman came up. He also has a George & Mary A Hook as gt gt gt grandparents, suggesting that I need to look closer at my tree! TBC.

MATCHES 6 - The Godber/Luke family & John Mathews have good to very high 4th-6th cousin matches with me and via use of LinkedIn and Facebook most are believed to live in the Wellington NZ area. I had messaged through Ancestry but being non-tree owners they probably have not checked recently. I therefore used Messenger to communicate with Karyn as follows:

Hello Karyn, It would appear from a DNA test that you, Michael, Sarah, John Mathews and Jackie are probably my 4th-6th cousins and share gt gt gt grandparents back in the 19th century. Wife and I are retired from the UK and live in Whakatane. Without any ulterior motive I am very interested etc etc Godber is a very old and these days rare English name and I have never seen/heard references to Godbers or Lukes before so will await a response with interest!

MATCH 7 - Dory Allen is a very high 4th - 6th cousin match that has confusing aspects. At face value, if  Ancestry logic is applied, the tree displayed after 'View Match' has been clicked is supposed to show the subject of the DNA test left screen, together with a 10 generation pedigree tree. In this case Dory is shown as a woman, plus only her father, Reginald Phillips and her mother Valerie Gindper, plus a few East European persons on her mother's side. If 'View Full Tree' is then clicked, followed by 'Find Home Person', it shows that person to be a male 'Allen', together with Dory, by implication his wife, maiden name Phillips. My problem is that I cannot see any reason why 'Dory's' side might have a link to my tree, whereas if I go up her husband's tree to the McVicar branch I find that a daughter Helen married a Geo Easterbrook and they had a son who is still living. In turn, I have another good cousin match by the name of John Easterbrook! (See above tree). This raises the question whether Dory was the DNA specimen provider, or her husband, the 'Private' Allen? If the latter, as seems probable, I can only assume that our common 3 x g grandparents were James McVicar and Mary O'Neil (nee Farrell perhaps). Response awaited to initial inquiry.

MATCH 8 - PN (Female - managed by David Ratcliffe) is a high quality 4th-6th cousin match, but her tree is private and Mr Ratcliffe has not responded to an initial approach. He last logged in on 6th Aug 18. She has matches with Courtney, Dave Applegate, zbrassman & Helena Fisher, raising the Hook prospect. Await response

MATCH 9 - John Edward Batchellor is a high quality match but he is inexperienced and still tree building. No response yet to questions. A person of this full name lives at Ford Manor Farm, Hoath, Kent CT3 4LS The county is full of ancestral connections!

MATCH 10 - CAF Wilson is a high quality match and we are in communication. We have common gt gt gt grandparent possibilities and come close with Woods or Simmonds, but not close enough! We also strangely share a match with Dory Allen, but with no supporting evidence!

MATCH 11 - Pimentil - A high confidence 4th - 6th cousin with whom I have been in touch. We agree that Steve Pimental's gt gt grandfather, a James Carrigan of Liverpool probably married an Eliza Farrell (born 1835 Dublin), daughter of Patrick Farrell Sen. James was a metal worker/machinist and might well have become known to the Farrells through the trade, perhaps employed temporarily in their workshop where he met and married one of the bosses daughters! That's the way it goes sometimes! (Steve's match is shared also with John Easterbrook)

MATCH 12 is with Andrew Dinham (Denham?) rated 'high' 4th - 6th cousin. Andrew does not have a tree and has not yet responded to an earlier approach. He has shared matches with Madeleine Cunningham, John Boren and Felines1944.

MATCH 13 is with SH (managed by Susan Leslie Gee) rated high 4th-6th cousin. No tree available other than Steven Burnett's tree (See later)

MATCH 14 - Ditto Skyviper91

MATCH 15 - Ditto Amanda Okert

MATCH 16- Ditto Madeleine Cunningham Good match.

MATCH 17- Ditto Alejandra Lopez Good match

MATCH 18- Ditto MP Good match.

MATCH 19 - dch48268 - Private tree 4th-6th cousin good match.

MATCH 20 - John boren - Good tree 4th-6th cousin good match.

MATCH 21 - Karyn + 2 Lukes - Small tree 4th-6th cousins good matches. Wellington based. Messaged Karyn 6 Aug 18

MATCH 22 - JOHN EASTERBROOK - No tree and hasn't responded to contact. Good match 4th - 6th cousin. I share this person with Julie & other Farrell relatives. Also found a living Easterbrook in Dory Allen's tree which could be John and therefore a Farrell descendant. However Dory Allen is categorised as Southern England orientated and an Eastabrook appears in Hoylenhoyle's tree.