This is a recreation of an email that I sent to my father and sister a few nights ago. A few years back, I was caught up in the fever of being Irish-American. I found an unsung hero of the 1916 Eater Rising had really caught my attention, so I wrote a Wikipedia article about him. Writing one of those articles is a far more difficult task than most talking heads and comedians would have you believe. This Old IRA man had a similar family name to some of my ancestors and came from the same village, but, at the time, I could not find the documents proving the relationship. I finally found the smoking gun. The below email is about that.
OK, so I started by looking at a hint for Mary Buckley. She was the wife of Thomas Hunter.
At the time, I did not have Mary’s date of death, so I took a look.
What caught my eye was that she died in Rathnadarahy, not Castletownroche. I had to look up where this even was. It is just northwest of Castletownroche.
I thought this was weird, so I opened up my master spreadsheet for all of the families and was shocked to see that I didn’t have one for the Hunters, so I started one, beginning with Susan Hunter, the most recent Hunter on our tree. By the time I got back to Thomas Hunter and Mary Buckley, something jumped out at me. The family was from Rathnadarrahy, but worked in CTR!!!
At this point, I started thinking about our old pal, IRA Tom Hunter. I pulled up the tree that I created for the Corbetts and saw the two names at the top: Thomas Hunter and Mary Buckley, but IRA Tom was coming from a supposed son of their’s that I had not found ANY records for. None. Nada. Zip. I had him only on word from Margaret that that was the tree. I noticed that all of the kids born to Hunter/Buckley were before the start of civil records, so I would have to rely on the Catholic Parish Registers. These have been digitized and released online for a few years now. I am entirely certain that reading through these things is why I now wear glasses. The good news is that they’ve since been indexed, which makes things typically easier. Perhaps I could finally find this guy?
The first three are people I already knew about. They are on our tree (scroll back to top). But what the heck is this mess down towards the bottom here?
Why was this guy so hard to find? Well, this might have something to do with it!
See what I mean about going blind from this? I LOVE the fact that this thing was indexed! That’s him. That’s our missing link. If you can make it out, one of the witnesses is a William Hunter. He is witness on the other three kid’s baptism records, too. I have to believe that he is Thomas Hunter’s brother, so I might be able to use that to get us back another generation.
Believe it or not, you can’t swing a dead cat in Cork without hitting a Bartholomew Arnold or a Mary Flynn, but there is a shocking scarcity of Cornelius Hunters. There are two, to be exact, and they have a good forty years between their births. Drilling down to IRA Tom was easy work.
So, this is pretty much the tree on that side. It still needs a bit of cleaning up, but this is the deal.
IRA Tom is first cousin three times removed (1C3R) to Liz and me, and first cousin two times removed (1C2R) to Pops. There is no doubt that he was a Founding Father of modern Ireland, and we share a drop of DNA with him.