I have a problem with being unable to trace my numerous Finn DNA connections, particularly to the USA, back to my family tree. This is because on my mother’s side, both of her parents had the surname Finn, so my grandmother was a Finn before and after her marriage. Following a tip from Peter Calver in a newsletter from the Lost Cousins website, I decided to use the Shared Matches feature on Ancestry that I have never really looked at previously, which shows connections at 20 centimorgans (cM) and above. I found that I have seventeen Finn DNA connections from 50 cM upwards, but my first cousin Stephen Wilson with 811 cM needed to be eliminated from the exercise, because he is in the same position as me, being a descendant of both Finn grandparents.
The analysis showed that eight of the DNA connections could be traced back to my grandmother, where I have some known names to underpin the analysis. This, presumably, means that the other eight are descendants of my grandfather. Most of the people mentioned do not have family trees on Ancestry, so it is difficult to progress further. This diagram illustrates my findings, including noting when an Ancestry family tree exists, as detailed below.
My grandmothers connections are:
- John Hanrahan 136 cM – I believe this to be correct, because he is a descendant of Anna Josephine Finn, who is my grandmother’s sister, who married a Hanrahan – see the blog page ‘Long Lost Hanrahans’. He is connected to five of the people below.
- bgrohovsky 118 cM – nothing further known, but is connected to five of the people in this list.
- Patricia Foelsch 118 cM – nothing further known, but she is connected to all seven in this list.
- Paul Joyce 101 cM – possibly a descendant of Mary Agnes, one of the four Finn sisters who emigrated to Cincinnati, who married Patrick Joyce. – see the blog page ‘Finns in the USA’. I have not received a reply to my message. He is connected to six in this list.
- P. G. managed by William Grimm 93 cM – nothing further known, but is connected to six in this list.
- J. R. managed by Vicki Lynn Rush on behalf of James Rush 91 cM – have had some correspondence with Vicki and tried to establish a connection to her tree. We got close and I do have a 2nd great grandmother named Catherine Rush on my grandmother’s side. Vicki has an extensive, but private tree on Ancestry. Vicki and James live in Utah, USA, but were previously in New Jersey, where they have relatives. James is connected to five others in this list.
- Cheshire84 62 cM – A descendant of Anna Josephine Finn, with whom I have had direct correspondence sharing information. She is connected to two others in my list and my first cousin Stephen, mentioned above. She lives in New Hampshire, USA. See the ‘Long Lost Hanrahans’ blog page. She has a tree of over 500 on Ancestry.
- kathykc1968 53 cM – she has small tree on Ancestry and appears to live in New Jersey, USA. She is connected to six people in my list.
These appear to be my grandfather’s eight connections:
- Raymond Flanagan 111 cM – Raymond appears to live in Australia – see my ‘Finns in Australia’ blog page. He has not responded to my messages and has a connection with five in my list. He has a small tree on Ancestry and appears to be a descendant of John Joseph Finn.
- D.P. managed by John Palser 64 cM – There is a connection to all seven in this list. He is a descendant of Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman from my ‘Finns in USA’ blog page. D. P. is mentioned in my ‘War Hero Finns in USA’ blog page. There is a small tree on Ancestry.
- Patricia Burnett 58 cM – she is mentioned in my ‘More on Finns in USA’ blog page. She connects to three people in this list. I have had some correspondence with her. She lives in Denver, USA and was born in Montana, where there are a number of Finn connections.
- Joseph Pecora Jr 55 cM – he has five connections to the others in this list. He has an extensive tree of over 4000 on Ancestry. He is a descendant of Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman through their daughter Matilda, known as Tilly. See the ‘Finns in the USA’ blog page.
- emk7452 53cM – this person has four connections to the others in this list.
- James J Farley 53cM – this person also has four connections to this list.
- Kathleen Karl 53 cM – she is connected to six of the others in this list. She has a tree of over 400 on Ancestry. She is descended from Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman.
- Pat Pasquini 53cM – she has four connections in this list. She has a small tree on Ancestry and would appear to be descended from Matthew Lawrence Finn a son of Thomas Finn and Ellen Gorman.
Patricia Burnett is the only person from both lists above who also has a single connection to my grandmother’s list via J. R. I don’t think this invalidates my work, but it does suggest that caution should be exercised, particularly because there are some cross connections where the next lower band of centimorgans is considered. I did look at the band of 30 cM to 49 cM. George Gee with six connections, also had one in my grandmother’s list. Betty Walsh with three connections also had one in my grandfather’s list. There were two people, Marita Roddy and Ethelyn Hamlin who had a single connection in both lists. The lower the centimorgan count, the more the likelihood of picking up these cross connections, because this takes you back further generations, where there are many more relationship possibilities. This is the reason why I restricted the main exercise to 50 cM or higher.
In conclusion, there is much further work to do in exploring trees and corresponding with these and others with lower cM counts to try and piece it all together. I think the broad segregation of the two groups into my grandfather’s and my grandmother’s forebears and descendants is broadly correct, but there is room for error. From my earlier blog pages, it seems that the ‘War Hero Finns’, the ‘More on Finns in the USA’ and ‘Finns in Australia” are from my grandfather’s side of the family. It seems that the ‘Long Lost Hanrahans’ and the four sisters who emigrated to Cincinnati, USA from the blog page ‘Finns in the USA’, are from my grandmother’s side. If this is correct, it means that Thomas Finn, who wrote a great paper about Cloontia, is related through my grandmother. There is a paragraph after the Civil Marriage Record, in the ‘Finns in the USA’ blog page that is more suited to the ‘More about Finns in the USA’ blog page. Maybe these two blog pages could be retitled based on the grandmother/grandfather split and this section could then be moved to the other blog page. This is something I could not have known when first writing!