Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys,

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The Blennerhassett Challenge - Blog


The Blennerhassett Challenge Blog

Updates on the progress of The Blennerhassett Challenge genealogy competition, to see if anyone wins the €1,000 reward.

Ongoing - DNA testing

In 2019 I started a systematic project to DNA test relatives of both Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert and our George Cashel, in order to see if the link could be proved. This is ongoing. More samples are being gathered from both sides.


Thursday, 2 January 2020

Letitia Blennerhassett's native Irish ancestry

Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert has exotic native Irish ancestry through Fitzgerald and O'Brien.


Major update to Kickham tree

In August 2019, DNA analysis finally, after over 30 years, proved my relationship (through George Cashel's wife Mary Kickham) to the Fenian Charles Joseph Kickham. See the proof. The link was what Pat Lavelle said it was: Mary is 1st cousin of the Fenian.


Grave of Charles Kickham (born 1752).
My first proven Protestant ancestor.
Discovered when I was over age 50.

Robert Kirkam of London listed among the Cromwellian adventurers for land in Ireland in 1642 to 1646. He is possibly the unnamed Cromwellian settler who is ancestor of the Kickhams of Co.Tipperary and my ancestor.

Fifth and sixth interim prizes awarded, March 2019

The fifth and sixth interim prizes of € 100 are awarded to Elizabeth Humphrys and Nicole Scannell-O'Leary for suggestions on how to use DNA to solve the problem.

My thinking on DNA has evolved over time, but I really needed to start doing DNA experiments in order to see what the issues are. They are not what I thought they were.

Fourth interim prize awarded, Jan 2019

The fourth € 100 prize for an interim solution has been awarded to Emma Pinnell, for providing proof in the Goddard letter of 1806 of the Goddard link to England. If the Letitia of Tarbert link is ever proved, this is proof of my most recent non-Irish ancestry.

Goddard letter proves the link to England.

The wife of Blennerhassett Cashel


More work on ancestors of Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert

William Kickham, brother-in-law of George Cashel

William Kickham grave in Washington D.C.
Known grave for George Cashel: 0.
Known grave for his siblings: 0.
Known grave for his wife: 0.
Known grave for his wife's siblings: 1 (this one).

Third interim prize awarded, Aug 2015

The third € 100 prize for an interim solution has been awarded to Teresa Stokes for her ongoing research on the descendants of Rev. John Blennerhassett.

Rev. John Blennerhassett (born 1733).
Father of Letitia Blennerhassett.

Elizabeth Blennerhassett (bapt 1772).
Sister of Letitia Blennerhassett.
Wife of Capt. Edward Fuller.

The Royal Descents of Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert

Leslie papers

Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert's most recent English ancestor:

Possibly my most recent English ancestral home: North Tidworth, Wiltshire.
This is where Capt. Thomas Goddard grew up.
His father Rev. Thomas Goddard was Rector of this church 1708 to 1731.
Capt. Thomas Goddard left England for Ireland in 1736.

Letitia Blennerhassett of Co.Limerick

Letitia Blennerhassett of Co.Kerry (Tralee and Tarbert)

Letitia Blennerhassett, daughter of Rev. John Blennerhassett.
She married 1stly to Richard Ponsonby and 2ndly to William Lindsay.

The White House, Tarbert, Co.Kerry.
This is where Letitia Blennerhassett, the daughter of Rev. John, lived in 1875.
She probably died there in 1876.
It is now an Asian restaurant.

Tomb of Arthur Blennerhassett of Blennerville (died 1839), Blennerville, Co.Kerry.
If Letitia the daughter of Rev. John is the one, then this Arthur (the son of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet) is the likely candidate for "A.Blennerhassett J.P." who recommended George Cashel for the police in 1828 (though he is not particularly closely related to Letitia).

Second interim prize awarded, Sept 2010

The second € 100 prize for an interim solution has been awarded to Jackie Lindsay for getting me started (in late 2009) on the family of Letitia Blennerhassett, daughter of Rev. John. This might turn out to be a dead end, but I doubt it. She really does look like she might be the one.

Disciplinary action against George Cashel, 1829.

New details and images

New details

First interim prize awarded, June 2008

The first € 100 prize for an interim solution has been awarded to Eily Moylan for fleshing out the family of George Cashel and his connection with Kickham.

Kickham tree now online. New details about George Cashel. New images.

"Slievenamon" by Charles Joseph Kickham.
Sung by Maureen Hegarty.
See full size.

  1. Item in Irish Roots magazine, 3rd qr, 2008.

  2. Item on 18 June 2008 in Irish Family History blog (now gone).

  3. Item in Ancestors magazine, July 2008 issue.

  4. Item in newsletter of Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies, summer 2008.

  5. Item supposed to appear in Oct 2008 issue (issue 83) of newsletter of Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society.

Blennerhassett competition launch, May 2008

Letitia of Tarbert in my website family tree, 2007.
Literally no progress. I did not think she was the one. She already had two husbands.

My website in 1999

Letitia of Tarbert in my website family tree, 1999.

Pre-Web family tree

I made out computerised offline family trees in 1990-92.


Letitia of Tarbert in my offline family tree, 1992.


The start of the hunt in 1985

When I read the following as a teenager in 1985, I realised that Blennerhassett could be my gateway to the World family tree. years later, I have yet to prove it.


BLENNERHASSETT entry in [Burkes Irish, 1976, p.136].

Letitia of Tarbert in Burkes.

Blennerhassett Cashel,
my possible gateway ancestor.

1st prize: € 1,000

Not yet claimed.

Interim prizes: € 100

I have paid out 6 of these so far, to Eily Moylan, Jackie Lindsay, Teresa Stokes, Emma Pinnell, Elizabeth Humphrys and Nicole Scannell-O'Leary.


Things to do - Blennerhassett Challenge

Things to do - Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert

Things to do - Cashel

Things to do - George Cashel land records

The core families

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