Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Preston DNA Puzzle Piece

Michael Preston and Ann were my fourth great grandparents.  Their existence is seen only in the death certificate of their son, Michael Preston.  He was born about 1820 in Ireland and died in 1904 in Bayonne, Hudson County, New Jersey.  His first appearance in the United States is the 1850 federal census for Pine Plains, Dutchess County, New York, where he is single, residing with the Thomas family.

Michael's death certificate does not provide a surname for his mother.

In the 1850s, Michael Preston married Catherine Donnell (or Donnelly) of Ireland and had several children.  I descend from their son, John D Preston (1857-1928).

I have found no one in the Pine Plains area with familial connections to my Prestons.  There was a Stephen Preston (1824-1896).  His death certificate lists his father as John Preston; mother unknown.

Then a DNA match appeared at FamilyTreeDNA to my uncle and his first cousin.  This DNA cousin's great great great grandmother was Ann Preston, born around 1827 in Ireland.  She first appeared in Pine Plains in the 1855 New York State census.  She married John Barrett (1825-1894).

The common ancestors of my uncle and his cousin were Frank ODonnell (1888-1959) and Anna Preston (1890-1921), telling us that the match will be found in this branch of the family tree.  Other Preston descendants are also at FamilyTreeDNA, but this DNA cousin does not appear in their list of matches.  This does not mean that they don't share DNA.  There are also more Preston descendants at, but we cannot utilize DNA held at a different site.  If everyone could upload to GedMatch, we could check for shared segments.

Sharing a surname and a geographic location with the DNA match makes Preston and Pine Plains an excellent place to look for the connection.

The DNA match has a record for the death in 1892 of Ann Preston, wife of John Barrett, from the town of Pine Plains, naming her parents as Michael Preston and Ann Hadden.

Could Ann Preston, born about 1827, be a sister to my Michael Preston, born about 1820?  Maybe.

So far, I have found no connection between them.  No newspaper article mentioning cousins.  Never living together in the census.

We don't know where in Ireland Preston came from.  In County Wicklow, we have some possible matches.

In 1823 and 1826, a couple named Michael Preston and Anne baptized a son, Michael, and a daughter, Anne, respectively, in Baltinglass.  Both had a special notation- looks like Ballinarow or Barinarow.  Sponsors for Michael look like Pat Toley and Mary Reddy.  Sponsors for Ann look like Ready and Mary Haydon.

Here's the part that gets me on these Irish surnames.  In nearby Ballymore Eustace, in 1824 Michael Preston and Anne baptized a son, Michael.  Sponsors were John Burke and Anna Quirk.  Do either of these records belong to my ancestor?

Are my ancestors Michael Preston and Anna Hadden?
And were they from County Wicklow?

Did the same couple move between parishes to baptize a son (or sons) named Michael?

We need some more records before we can decide that Ann Preston (1827-1894) connects to my Preston branch as a sister of Michael, my Third Great Grandfather.

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