Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents


John Blennerhassett, "Black Jack"

John Blennerhassett, "Black Jack",
of Castle Conway, Killorglin, Co.Kerry,
born 1665.
[Hickson, 10 Apr 1897] says he was called Black Jack "from his dark complexion".
The old Castle Conway was a ruin as at 1682.
He was educ TCD. Entered 26 June 1683, listed as age 18, John son of Robert. BA Spring 1687.
See possibly confused entry in [TCD Alumni].

1689-90 war and imprisonment:
"Capt. John Blennerhassett" was a supporter of William of Orange in the Williamite-Jacobite War (1689-1691).
He was captured at Loughrea, Co.Galway, 1 Mar 1689 [new style year, at the time regarded as the end of 1688].
He was imprisoned at Galway and Dublin with his brother Thomas in 1689-1690.
They were imprisoned first at Galway.
He is believed to have started writing down the Blennerhassett family tree in prison in Galway in 1689.
Transferred to prison in Dublin after 14 months (May 1690). Finally released after Battle of the Boyne July 1690.

He mar pre-1693 (so probably in 1690-93) to Elizabeth Cross [born 1669].
At some point, probably in Black Jack's time (in 1690s to 1730s), a fine new Castle Conway was built on the old site in Killorglin.
[Houses of Kerry] thought it was built "after the Williamite wars", but also thought it was built by Black Jack's parents (but his mother died 1683, before the Williamite wars).
John Blennerhassett of Killorglin witnessed a Deed of 1708, the marriage settlement of Samuel Bennett of Co.Limerick and Anne Collis of Co.Kerry.
Elizabeth died 22 Mar 1732, age 63 yrs.
She was bur in the chapel at Castle Conway, Black Jack erected a memorial to her.
See her now-vanished tomb at Castle Conway.
Black Jack produced his final Blennerhassett family history c.1737, known as "Black Jack's Book".
[Hickson, 3 Apr 1897] says the latest entries in the genealogy are dated 1737.
Black Jack died c.1738, age c.73 yrs.
Mary Agnes Hickson gives various estimates for when he died, such as c.1739 [10 Apr 1897] and c.1742 [3 Apr 1897].
Black Jack and Elizabeth had issue:

  1. Conway Blennerhassett,
    of Castle Conway, Killorglin, Co.Kerry,
    born 3 Oct 1693.

  2. Anne Blennerhassett,
    born 24 Jan 1695 [new style year].
    She mar 1stly, 1717, to Dennis McGillycuddy and had issue.
    She mar 2ndly to Thomas Herbert and had issue.

  3. John Blennerhassett,
    born 1696.
    He mar Anne Dawson.
    He must be John Blennerhassett of Tralee whose will was dated 1743 and proved 1753. See notes on p.6 of [D950/1/9]. This shows a son Dawson, dau Elizabeth, niece Avis Blennerhassett (two of his brothers had daus Avice or Avis). However John's wife is listed as Elizabeth.
    John and wife had issue:

    1. Dawson Blennerhassett, born 1725.
    2. Elizabeth Blennerhassett.

  4. Elizabeth Blennerhassett,
    born 1702.
    She mar Townsend Gun and had issue.

  5. Tryphena Blennerhassett,
    born 1703.
    She mar 1723 to Ulick Fitzmaurice and had issue.

  6. Edward Blennerhassett,
    of Rossbeigh, born 31 Mar 1705.

  7. Arthur Blennerhassett,
    born 1706.
    He mar 2ndly, 1734, to Sarah Gun and had issue.


DNA from 1665 can be detected in 2020

In 2019 and 2020, it was discovered that several DNA matches still exist between the living descendants of different children of "Black Jack". These are the furthest back DNA matches I have ever found. Possibly the DNA matches are through some unknown closer lines. But unless that is found, it does seem that DNA from 1665 can be detected in 2020!

Letter of 13 Oct 1694 from Cornelius McGillycuddy refers to Capt. Hassett of Killorglin (Black Jack).
From p.175 of McGillycuddy papers.

Arms of Blennerhassett and Cross.
From the arms of the 32 ancestral lines of James Franklin Fuller, made out in 1909 by the Dublin Office of Arms.
Courtesy of Teresa Stokes.
(Left) See full size.
(Right) See full size.


List of Black Jack's sons

There was an error made in 1883 that Black Jack had a son "Robert", and he was the father of Rev. John.
This error is still circulating.
"Black Jack's Book" shows it is an error.

Black Jack names his sons in "Black Jack's Book".
Note there is no "Robert".
This is p.15 of MS 7937 (this section written 1724).

Transcript from p.42 of [Hickson, 1872].


Deed of 1708


John Blennerhassett of Killorglin witnessed a deed dated 13 Feb 1708.
Though unfortunately his signature is not on the surviving memorial.




Sources yet to be consulted


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