Finns In Australia

I have a DNA match to Raymond Flanagan in the results bracketed as second to third cousins (showing 111 centimorgans). Raymond seems to be based in Australia, from his family connections in the earlier generations detailed below. I have written to him twice without getting a reply and I can tell he is not deeply into family history from his entries on to Ancestry. Frustrating, but that often happens with this type of enquiry, so I am not singling him out for criticism, just in case he reads this. I am sure that he would have a wealth of information to pass on and I will send him the link to this blog post. I am making this point generally that, if you get a message through Ancestry or any of the other websites specialising in geneological research, even a small amount of information can open doors to keen historians, so I am making a plea to please reply when contacted, if you can.

It seems that Raymond’s parents were John Patrick Flanagan and Patricia Johanna Finn who were married on 3rd May 1937. I have not got much information on them, but Raymond shows Patricia as being born in Grafton, New South Wales (NSW) on 2nd March 1915 and passing away in 2001 Sunshine Coast, Queensland (QLD) and I have not been able to verify this information. This raises the possibility that there is another generation and these are Raymond’s grandparents. The only thing I can find about John Patrick Flanagan apart from the marriage, is he appears to have been in the Australian Navy with a service number of 2686 and this shows his date of birth as 6th July 1904. If this is the correct person, he would have an age gap with his wife of 11 years and this may suggest there is another generation or that Patricia’s date of birth is wrong.

Map of the area from Brisbane, QLD showing the border with NSW to the south of Robina on the coast, with Glen Innes marked with the red pin, the town I am about to mention below. Grafton, where Patricia was born is to the east of Glen Innes towards the coast. I have visited the area on the coast from north of Brisbane at Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to south of Brisbane into New South Wales at Ballina. It is beautiful area and some photos follow.
My wife Sue walking along Mermaid Beach, QLD towards Surfers Paradise with a strong breeze whipping up the sand. We used a hotel at Mermaid Beach as a base for our four week visit.
We went to the Rugby League 2008 World Cup Final at the Sun Corp stadium, Brisbane, unexpectedly won by New Zealand, on their lap of honour above, who beat the hosts Australia 34-20 in a huge upset on my 56th birthday.

Going back to the Flanagans, John Patrick had a brother James Edward Flanagan, born 7th October 1905, who died in Brisbane on 19th December 1924 at the tender age of 19. Their parents were Patrick Joseph Flanagan born 1871, died Brisbane 18th November 1856 and Mary Josephine Griffith born 1873, died 5th February 1957 in Brisbane. They were married on 19th April 1896. This information would tend to confirm that John Patrick’s date of birth is correct. Mary Josephine had a sister Margaret Elizabeth Griffith, born 21st August 1870 QLD, died 17th September 1958. These family connections and ages are all confirmed on a family gravestone in Toowong Cemetery, Brisbane.

Raymond has Patricia’s parents as John Joseph Finn (1872 Sligo, Ireland – 1962, Brisbane QLD) and Johanna (or Hannah) Marden (1867 Glen Innes, NSW – 1913 Glen Innes NSW). I have not been able to verify these dates and I suspect Patricia was born before 1915, given when her mother died and the following birth dates for her siblings. John Joseph and Johanna were married in Glen Innes, NSW in 1900.

Ellen Jane Finn was born in Glen Innes on 23rd December 1900 and she married Ernest Charles Haddock on 15th November 1924 in Queensland. Irwin William Finn was born in Glen Innes on 27th May 1902. There is a record of William I. Finn passing away in Glen Innes in 1903 whose father was Jury and mother Hannah, so this looks like a possible match. Next was Evelyn Dorothy Finn born in Glen Innes on 17th December 1904. The next sibling was Mary Eileen Finn born 16th July 1907. I have been unable to find out anything more about Evelyn Dorothy or Mary Eileen. Ellen Jane and Mary Eileen had another variant of their mother’s first name recorded as Rosannah, along with their father shown as John Joseph Finn. I suspect poor handwriting or poor transcription skills contributed to these variations.

As there were four sisters and one brother who looks like he died young, the Finn name, through these ancestors, seems to have died out. My DNA link is, at the likeliest, at third cousin level. As I have no other known Australian ancestry, it is likely that the DNA link is through the Finn connection. I can rule out the Flanagans who seem to have been in Australia for longer than John Joseph Finn and that would require a connection in the fourth to sixth cousins range back to Ireland. I can also rule out the Griffith connection, which traces back to Denbigh in North Wales, United Kingdom, where I have no ancestral connections.

From my American research into the Finns, where I have DNA connections, I have come across John Jack Finn – see the penultimate paragraph in my blog page – More on Finns in the USA. He was born 24th June 1872 and was noted as passing away in Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia in 1950. Jack is used as a nickname for John, so I suspect it is not a baptised name. Given the proximity of the birth date with John Joseph mentioned in this blog and the DNA connection, it may well be that the death date and location are wrong. There was a death in Victoria in 1950 and I suspect it may have been wrongly attributed. Raymond Flanagan is the source of the 1962 death date, so knowing the answer to this may help.

Just north of Glenn Innes is Tenterfield and I have found further connections of Flanagans to this area, but none that links in to the Brisbane Flanagans featured above. There may well be a family connection between these Flanagan families. Also, more information may arise from the Finn connection back to Ireland, but without some input (other than through Ancestry or Find My Past), I may never know. Still there are the strong DNA links in the USA and Australia that makes me hold out some hope.