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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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20 October, 2007

Naming Patterns of a Different Kind

As I venture along in my genealogy research, I find some rather interesting naming “patterns”, if it’s to be called that. Generally when one thinks of naming patterns in one’s family, one thinks of patterns in naming children. For example, my father’s family has a naming pattern in that each branch of the family had one son with the patterned name. My great grandfather was Dennis Joseph McHUGH. One of his sons, my grandfather, was named Joseph Dennis McHUGH. My father, therefore, is Dennis Joseph. It sounds as if that would make tracing that line easy. However, it may be that somewhere along the road a Dennis Joseph or a Joseph Dennis was one of my ancestral grandfather’s brothers, not my ancestral grandfather. For example, the father of my great-grandfather Dennis Joseph may have been Joseph Dennis. Or it may have been Patrick James, who had a brother named Joseph Dennis. So while the naming pattern is likely going to be helpful when I get to researching past this great-grandfather, it is not a given that it will be easy.

The naming pattern I am focusing on for this entry is a surname pattern, though as implied above, it isn’t a typical pattern in that most likely, it was not a planned phenomenon. I’ve mentioned the surnames in question in previous posts, but for the sake of determining whether DNA could make sense of the “patterns”, I will put them all together in this post.

The grandfather of my maternal grandmother, Regina “Jean” DOYLE, was William DOYLE (abt 1843-abt.1887). His wife was Mary DEVER (abt. 1846-abt.1925). They had 9 children, the first of which (John, 1864 - ?) was my great-grandfather on my mother’s maternal line. One of John’s sisters, Mary Ann (aka Mame; 1875-1968) married an Edward TIGHE (1870-bef. 1959). Mary Ann was born in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA; it us unknown where Edward was born. At some point and in some order, this couple had 4 children (Harold, Marie, Francis and John) and moved to Chicago, Illinois, where Mame died. Mame is pictured below.

Fast forward a little bit, taking my great-grandfather John DOYLE with you. John Married a Jane or Jennie McCUE (possibly McHUGH; 1866-?). John was born in Birkenhead, England and it’s believed that Jane was born in Ireland, though it may have been her mother that was from Eire. They married and lived in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA as well. One of their daughters was Blanche DOYLE (1898-1975). Blanche married a William TIGHE (1895-?). At some point and in some order, this couple gave birth to 7 children, some of which moved to Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY. Blanche and William are pictured below.
One of Blanche and William’s daughters was Janet (1921-1960). Janet married an Edward WILLIAMS (dates unknown). Janet and Eddie are pictured below.Flip back to my great-grandparents John and Jane DOYLE. Another of their daughters, Margaret (1900-?) married a Raymond WILLIAMS (1900-?). At some point and in some order, this family had 6 children , at least one of which had moved to Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY from Pittston, Luzerne County, PA. I'm afraid I don't have any pictures of this couple, but I do have one of Raymond WILLIAMS. Remember me mentioning my mother’s mom, Regina “Jean” DOYLE (1905-1979), daughter of John and Jane DOYLE? Jean married James O’ROURKE (1902-1963) in Pittston, Luzerne County, PA. In about 1934 this couple and their son James (1929-2005) moved to Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY and gave birth to my mother Regina “Jean” (1938-1988). My mother married Dennis Joseph McHUGH in Niagara Falls, Niagara County, NY on 06 June 1959. Dennis and his family originally hailed from Nanticoke, Luzerne County, PA.

Yet another twist in the DOYLE/TIGHE branch belongs to my great-grandfather John J. DOYLE's brother PETER, and Blanche's husband, Bill TIGHE. Peter DOYLE's daughter, Gertrude (06 Mar 1894 - 25 May 1982) married Lawrence KELLY (dates unknown). Bill TIGHE's parents, I believe, were James and Elizabeith (HUGHES) TIGHE. Their daughter, Anna, Bill's sister, also married a Lawrence Kelly. I believe this family also hailed from Pittston, Luzerne County, PA.

So in my one big family, we have two separate TIGHE lines, two separate WILLIAMS lines, two separate KELLY lines, and two separate McHUGH lines. Since no one has been able to connect either pairings of surnames to another, this isn’t exactly a planned pattern, but it formed a pattern nonetheless. I often wonder if DNA testing could determine if there are in fact any connections between these like-named families.

If you want to read more stories and mysteries that may be solved by DNA, check out this month's edition of the Carnival of Genealogy HERE.


Blogger Miriam said...

How interesting, Colleen! I have two ROBBINS lines that marry each other (my 4th great-grandparents, Joseph Josiah ROBBINS and Marinda ROBBINS). So far, I've found no relationship to each other. Their fathers seem to have come from different parts of the Northeast.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Apple said...

Wow! The Luzerne > Niagara Falls migration is interesting too.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Janice said...

Intriguing on the dual occurrence of surnames. Cousins commonly married cousins in those days, and so don't be surprised if you end up being related to yourself! :D


6:06 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

You have such an interesting variety of family lines and family members, Colleen. I wonder if we can determine a McCue/McHugh connection at some point.

I've just created a new blog carnival and I hope you'll consider participating. The Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture will feature a collection of posts on Celtic family history, heritage and culture written on various blogs. The first edition will be published at my blog Small-leaved Shamrock on November 22, 2007. See for more information. Contributions must be received by November 19 to be included.

Hope you'll join us! Spread the word!

12:08 AM  
Blogger TheGeneticGenealogist said...

I'm trying to reach you about joining The Genealogists, but the invitation bounced back to me. Could you contact me with your email address at blaine_5 at Thank you!

5:33 AM  

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