Friday, May 31, 2013

The Genealogy Happy Dance

I'm doing the Genealogy Happy Dance today J.

I had my father's DNA tested.  His surname (and therefore my maiden name) is Gibbons, and his grandfather was John Lawrence Gibbons.  We know very little about him, except that he was born in Limerick, Ireland. He first appears on the records in Victoria, Australia, in 1887 when he marries Elizabeth Margaret Williams in Richmond, Victoria (I can't find his arrival in Australia).  His marriage certificate, death certificate and the birth certificates all give his place of birth as Limerick. His age keeps varying in the records, but they suggest a birth about 1842 or 43.  He says that his parents are George Gibbons and Ellen Sweeney. He was Catholic.
Dad came up with a couple of close matches to his Y-DNA, both to people called Fitzgibbon, one in Limerick and one in Cork.  I have been communicating with one of them by email, and this person had a spreadsheet of Fitzgibbon & Gibbon events, and these included
  • the marriage of George Fitzgibbon to Ellen Sweeney in 1830 in Newcastle West, Limerick
  • the birth of a son, William, in Newcastle West in 1831
  • the birth of a son, John, in Dromcollogher in 1834
  • the birth of a son, Roger, in Dromcollogher in 1835

I then looked to see what I could find on the web site, and found an additional birth
  • a son, Luke, in St Michael's, Limerick in 1836
Now I know that Gibbons isn't exactly the same as Fitzgibbon, but apparently the Irish records show many cases of people changing between the two versions of the name, and we have Y-DNA evidence to point to a close relationship between Dad (and me) and people named Fitzgibbon.  There is no middle name "Lawrence" shown for John on the baptism, but I have seen cases before when someone has adopted a middle name well after their birth.  The dates for John's birth don't match, but as I said, the records in Australia all have conflicting ages, and he did marry a woman much younger than himself, so may have altered his age accordingly.

I grant you, it's not what I would consider proof yet, but it's something to go on and investigate further, which has been sadly lacking until now.


  1. That's quite exciting. From what I've seen and heard, 'FITZGIBBON to GIBBONS' is easy to believe. My family's Y-DNA results (my uncle did the test) are more of a worry. There is only one match yet, but the name in that line is PEPLER, not WEBSTER, so unless the common ancestor is much further back than predicted, one of us may have some skeletons in the closet!

  2. Fantastic lead Jenny. Hope it leads to concrete connections.

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