Humphrys genealogy

Genealogy research by Mark Humphrys.

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My ancestors - Blennerhassett - Contents


  Documentary evidence

DNA failure - Letitia theory

DNA success - Baronets theory

George Cashel's mother

Summary

Other pages



Proof of our descent from Blennerhassett

There has been one epic problem in all of my family tree research - the Blennerhassett problem. This is the problem of how we descend from the Blennerhassett family. I first became aware of our possible descent in 1985. It took me 35 years to prove it.

I believe that in 2020 I proved our basic descent from the Blennerhassett Baronets family. But there are some issues still to be solved. This page lays out the proof.


Summary of findings

  1. I call it as proved that my family is closely related to the Blennerhassett Baronets family. Documents suggested this, and now DNA proves it beyond doubt.
  2. I call it as proved that my family is closely related to Yielding, the family of the mother and wife of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet. Again, DNA proves this now.
  3. Assuming we descend from Blennerhassett at all, I call it as proved that my family descends from Robert Blennerhassett, of Mount Rivers, and Frances Yielding, parents of the 1st Baronet. See the argument below.
  4. I call it as almost proved that my family descends from the 1st Baronet himself and his wife Millicent Agnes Yielding rather than from a sibling of either.
  5. I call it as almost proved that my family descends from a daughter of the 1st Baronet and his wife.

  6. The only known daughter of the 1st Baronet and his wife is Melisent Blennerhassett, baptised 1768.
  7. The remaining mission is to prove from documents what the DNA says must exist.
  

  

Evidence - Family names

The first evidence of our family's descent from Blennerhassett is the use of "Blennerhassett" as a first name and middle name in our family. I grew up with the name "Blennerhassett" in the family. For example, talking to my grandmother in the 1980s about her grandfather Blennerhassett Cashel (died 1915).

The first person in our family with "Blennerhassett" as a name is:

The name "Blennerhassett" was then used as a first name and middle name by the following people in our family (all descendants of George Blennerhassett Cashel):




George Cashel is written "George Blennerhassett Cashel" on the marriage cert of his son Blennerhassett Cashel in 1869.
See full size.



Baptism of George's son Blennerhassett Cashel, 18 June 1848.



Detail from grave of Blennerhassett Cashel.





Evidence - Family story of runaway marriage

As well as using the name "Blennerhassett", our family had preserved a story of a runaway Blennerhassett marriage. This story survived into the modern age in the Papers of Patricia Lavelle. Pat Lavelle died in 1966. But her family history notes survived, and I read them in the 1980s.

Pat Lavelle's notes say it was the mother of George Cashel who was a Blennerhassett, and her name was "Letitia Blennerhassett". The story is that the Protestant Letitia Blennerhassett had a romantic runaway marriage with the Catholic Edward Cashel and they were the parents of George Cashel. The story was that the Blennerhassett girl was disinherited for running away with a Catholic. [PAT/10, p.3] said: "Her family disowned her but the Cashels all thought it very romantic".

Pat probably got this information from her mother Agnes Cashel (died June 1958) or her aunt Alice Cashel (died Feb 1958). Alice Cashel certainly knew about the Blennerhassett connection. See argument between Alice Cashel and Jim Sullivan.

  

The story in my family of a romantic runaway Blennerhassett marriage.
In the notes of my grandaunt Pat Lavelle.
From [PAT/10, p.3]. See full size.


  

Evidence - "Letitia Blennerhassett"

The unusual name "Letitia Blennerhassett" seems like a strong clue. How would such a rare name be remembered as George Cashel's mother?

The following are the only known Letitia Blennerhassetts of child-bearing age in the world in 1807. Both of them are married at the time, and not to Cashel.


  1. Letitia Blennerhassett of Tralee and Tarbert, Co.Kerry, born 1780,
    married 1stly, 1799, to Richard Ponsonby and had issue,
    married 2ndly, 1811, to William Lindsay and had issue.
    There was some paper evidence that it could be her.


  2. Letitia Blennerhassett of Co.Limerick, born est c.1785,
    married 1807 to Samuel Harding and had issue.
    There is no particular evidence that it could be her.
  
I spent many years looking at Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert.
There was (and still is) a lot of evidence that made it look like her.
See: Theory of our descent from Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert.
But a detailed DNA study says it is not her. See below.
  


From [PAT/7, no.3] and [PAT/13, no.3].



From [PAT/13, no.2].



From [PAT/13, no.6].
Copy in [PAT/7, no.7].




Evidence - "A. Blennerhasset, J.P."

There is more evidence in the official records. When George Cashel joined the County Constabulary in Sept 1828, he was recommended by "A. Blennerhasset, J.P.". This presumably must be a relation.

One would imagine this would narrow it down. However, there were multiple prominent and respectable A. Blennerhassett's, even restricted to that time. There are basically three candidates for this person, as follows.


In the Ballyseedy branch:

  1. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Ballyseedy, Tralee.
    High Sheriff of Co.Kerry 1821-22. In 1834 he is on a Grand Jury. In 1835 he is one of the Deputy Lieutenants of Co.Kerry, and one of the Magistrates of Co.Kerry. Died 1843.

    We have no particular evidence that our family could be from the Ballyseedy branch.


In the Baronet branch:

  1. Arthur Blennerhassett, of Blennerville, Tralee.
    His wife was 1st cousin of the mother of Letitia Blennerhassett of Tarbert.
    Appointed J.P. in 1822. In 1834 he is on a Grand Jury. Died (still a J.P.) in 1839.

  2. Sir Arthur Blennerhassett, 3rd Baronet, of Churchtown, Killarney.
    Nephew of Arthur Blennerhassett, of Blennerville.
    High Sheriff of Co.Kerry 1820-21. He married a Catholic 1826 and converted to Catholicism 1827. So might have been sympathetic to Cashel's position even if not close relative. Became 3rd Baronet 1831. In 1832 he is one of the Magistrates of Co.Kerry. Died 1849.


Since two of the three possible Arthur Blennerhassetts are in the Baronet branch, this indicated our descent might be from the Baronet branch.
This turned out to be true. See below.




George Cashel's RIC record.
Showing that he was recommended by "A. Blennerhasset, J.P." when he joined the County Constabulary in 1828.


  

Evidence - The Gortatlea letter



Thomas Blennerhassett of Gortatlea wrote this letter to Pat Lavelle in 1965.
He says Letitia Blennerhassett "must have been" the daughter of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet.
From [PAT/14].
  

Discussion

So back in the 1980s, I discovered this letter telling me who Letitia's father was. Why did I not believe it?
Basically, this letter was not very convincing:

And yet, this letter seems to be true!

For decades, I thought Thomas Blennerhassett was just guessing. That he was saying this because Sir Rowland was the only Blennerhassett he knew of at that period. Now I think he knew what he was talking about!


  

Pat incorporates the idea that Letitia is the daughter of Sir Rowland (incorrectly written "Sir Ronald").
From [PAT/13, no.1]



Pat incorporates the idea that Letitia is the daughter of Sir Rowland into her notes.
From [PAT/10, p.3]. See full size.
This combines the original family story of a romantic runaway marriage with the idea that Letitia is the daughter of Sir Rowland.
For years, I thought both of these stories were false. Now I think both of them are true!




Evidence - Alice Cashel argument with Jim Sullivan

In her notes, Pat Lavelle remembers her aunt Alice Cashel and Jim Sullivan arguing over whose family had a claim to the Blennerhassett estate. Jim Sullivan left Ireland in 1920, but probably returned on visits. He died in America in 1935, so the argument is sometime before 1935.

Pat said that Jim's Sullivan family "had come from near Tralee where the Blennerhassett estate flourished. The old castle built long ago, he maintained, belonged to his family." (He would mean the old Irish Clan O'Sullivan.) And Alice had her Blennerhassett ancestors. (One would love to hear what evidence she presented!) So Jim and Alice argued about who had a claim to the old estate.

  


The Alice Cashel argument with Jim Sullivan.
From [PAT/10, p.2 and p.3].
See full size p.2 and p.3.


  

I took decades to realise the argument is about Churchtown

The addition of "Tralee" meant I took decades to realise the argument is about Churchtown near Killarney, and hence about the Blennerhassett Baronets branch.
  

Did Alice Cashel know about Churchtown?

So Jim Sullivan was right. And DNA (see below) says Alice Cashel was right. Her Blennerhassetts were from Churchtown. And she probably knew that. But that information was not transmitted to Pat Lavelle. I had to go and dig it up again, almost a century after this argument took place.

The only way the dates really work for our family to be linked to Churchtown would be if George Cashel's mother was:

  1. A daughter of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet,

    or:

  2. A daughter of the 1st Baronet's brother Arthur Blennerhassett of Fortfield.
    Arthur's son is listed at Churchtown at one point.



Jim Sullivan came from Dromaloughane, near Killarney, Co.Kerry.
In Dromaloughane townland is the ruin of Castle Corr.
Above it in Churchtown townland is the Blennerhassett house, Churchtown House.



The ruin of Castle Corr is now in Beaufort Golf Club.


   
 

DNA failure - Letitia of Tarbert branch

Our first DNA search is not proof of a connection, since it ended in failure. But it really illustrates why our second DNA search is proof.
  

The Letitia theory is false



By 2020, I had done hundreds of one-to-one DNA comparisons of Cashel people with Letitia people.
And I had never got a match better than 8.4 centimorgans (cM).
Comparing this with what hits are like for real cousins shows I should have already found a load of great, strong hits.
But I got nothing. The Letitia theory is false.

Later, after hundreds more comparisons, I got a 9.0 cM and 8.6 cM but that hardly changes the argument.

  

The failure of the Letitia theory



Top row: What the DNA matches look like for real 4th cousins.
Bottom row: DNA matches for the postulated 4th cousins under the Letitia theory.
Conclusion: They are not 4th cousins. The Letitia theory is false.
See details.



Top row: What the DNA matches look like for real 5th cousins.
Bottom row: DNA matches for the postulated 5th cousins under the Letitia theory (truncated).
Conclusion: They are not 5th cousins. The Letitia theory is false.
See details.

  

The success of the Baronets theory

For comparison, we preview what a working theory looks like: the Baronets theory, which will be explained later.

We cannot do the 4th cousins to compare with above because so far we have discovered no 4th cousins (no times removed) under this theory.
So let us look at 5th cousins:



Top row: What the DNA matches look like for real 5th cousins.
Bottom row: DNA matches for the postulated 5th cousins under the Baronets theory (truncated).
Conclusion: They are really 5th cousins, or at most 6th cousins. They really are closely related. The Baronets theory is true.
See details.

  

The mother of George Cashel is not that far back.
She would be Ahnentafel number 89 (if I am number 1).
There are 64 people in her generation, numbered 64 to 127.


   
 

DNA proof - Arthur Blennerhassett of Blennerville

It was clear from the previous DNA testing that if I ever found the right Blennerhassett branch, the hits would be strong and obvious.
  


Proof that we descend from the Blennerhassett Baronets.
On 26 May 2020, this 15 centimorgans (cM) hit was discovered on my very first sample with the Blennerhassett Baronets.
We did just 11 one-to-one DNA comparisons and immediately got a rock-solid 15 cM.
The match is between these two people: George Cashel must be closely related to Arthur Blennerhassett of Blennerville. Probably his nephew.

I call it as proved that we are closely related to the Baronets branch.

  


DNA proof - Sir Robert Blennerhassett, 2nd Baronet

After the breakthrough with Chute, other DNA matches came spilling out. Multiple matches, and different sides of the family. Though smaller than the Chute match, until Oct 2020, when we got one bigger than the Chute match. The smaller matches are below. First we look at the bigger match.

On 18 Oct 2020, we got the following huge 21 cM match with the Baronets family. There is no doubt now. The Baronets theory is true.

We have multiple DNA matches of our family with descendants of the 2nd Baronet.
We have a match between:

and two people in my family:
  

DNA match of Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, with Nuala Duggan, as seen on Gedmatch.



DNA match of Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, with Nuala Duggan, as seen on Ancestry.



DNA match of Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, with Kathrin Riordan, as seen on Gedmatch.
Note this is the same location as the 7th Baronet's match with Nuala Duggan. It is the same match.
This means the link of Kathrin and Nuala to the 7th Baronet is through the common ancestor of Kathrin and Nuala, which is Blennerhassett Cashel (bapt 1848) and his wife.
More on this in Triangulation below.

I call it as proved that Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, is related to our family through Blennerhassett Cashel and his wife, not through any other line.

  

Links through Blennerhassett Cashel mean links through George Cashel

Links to any of these Blennerhassett people through Blennerhassett Cashel realistically mean links through his father George Cashel, and not through his wife or his mother.
Let us explain:

Realistically, any link to Blennerhassett through Blennerhassett Cashel is a link through George Cashel and not through any other line.

I call it as proved that Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, is related to our family through George Cashel and not through any other line.

  

Borderline match

Ancestry also gives a borderline match between one of the 2nd Baronet's descendants and my family. A match between these two people:
   
 

The match with the Conyers family (descendants of the 2nd Baronet) as seen on Ancestry.
While Ancestry says this is a match, because it is only 8 cM we will not count it in this proof.




DNA proof - William Yielding

There are further DNA matches of our family with Yielding, the family of the wife and the mother of the 1st Baronet.
First, we have matches with a brother of Millicent Agnes Yielding (wife of 1st Baronet).
The matches are in the Bayly family.
The matches are between: and these three people in my family:



  

The William Yielding matches must be through George Cashel

The most recent common ancestor of the McGraths and Nuala Duggan is Blennerhassett Cashel (they descend from two different wives).
As discussed above, any link to Blennerhassett/Yielding through Blennerhassett Cashel is realistically a link through George Cashel.

I call it as proved that Brenda Bayly is related to our family through George Cashel and not through any other line.




DNA proof - William Yielding plus Blennerhassett

On 3 June 2021, I got a 14 cM DNA match with someone who descends from both Blennerhassett and Yielding.

To be precise, my family has a 14 cM DNA match with Eileen Owen.
She is a descendant of all of these people:

And she is a DNA match with this person in my family:

  


DNA match of Eileen Owen and James Riordan, as seen on Gedmatch.


  

DNA proof - Belinda Yielding

We also have DNA matches of my family with Belinda Yielding (bapt 1758), sister of Millicent Agnes Yielding (wife of 1st Baronet).

It is proved that these are matches with Belinda Yielding:

  
We have the following matches with descendants of Belinda Yielding:
  1. We have matches between: and these three people in my family:



    DNA match of Billy Butler and Frank McGrath, as seen on Gedmatch.



    DNA match of Billy Butler and Niall Humphreys, as seen on Gedmatch.
    Note this is the same segment as above. It ends at the same location.



    DNA match of Billy Butler and Donal Duggan, as seen on Gedmatch.
    Again it is the same segment.
    More on this in Triangulation below.


      
    
  2. We have matches between: and these four people in my family:


      
    
  3. We have matches between: and these two people in my family:




    The match of Isolde Somers and Niall Humphreys as seen on Gedmatch (magnified from default).



    The match of Isolde Somers and Frank McGrath as seen on Gedmatch.


      
    
  4. We have a match between these two people:




    The match of Vincent Butler and Desmond Conacher as seen on Gedmatch.

      
    
  5. We have a borderline match between these two people: While Ancestry says this is a match, because it is only 6 cM we will not count it in this proof.


      
    
  

The Belinda Yielding matches must be through George Cashel

The common ancestor of the Cashel people in these matches is Blennerhassett Cashel (they descend from two different wives).
As discussed above, any link to Blennerhassett/Yielding through Blennerhassett Cashel is realistically a link through George Cashel.

I call it as proved that the Thomas Butler and Tobias Butler families are related to our family through George Cashel and not through any other line.

  


DNA summary

Let us list all DNA matches between my family and the Blennerhassett Baronets family.


We use cousin numbering as follows:

5.0 - 5th cousin (direct, no times removed).
5.1 - 5th cousin, once removed.
5.2 - 5th cousin, 2 times removed.
...
6.0 - 6th cousin (direct, no times removed).
...


We have the following matches with the descendants of Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet, and Millicent Agnes Yielding.

Cashel side Blennerhassett side Line Cousins Chromosome Match
Nuala Duggan Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet 2nd Baronet 5.0 19 21 cM
Meg Niemi John Chute Arthur of Blennerville 5.1 11 15 cM
Kathrin Riordan Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet 2nd Baronet 5.0 19 10 cM


We have the following matches with the descendants of William Yielding.
Eileen Owen also descends from two siblings of the 1st Baronet.

Cashel side Blennerhassett side Line Cousins Chromosome Match
James Riordan Eileen Owen (multiple) 5.1 4 14 cM
Derval McGrath Brenda Bayly Bayly 6.1 unknown 9 cM
Nuala Duggan Brenda Bayly Bayly 6.1 unknown 9 cM


We have the following matches with the descendants of Belinda Yielding.
For the cousin numbers, we assume Thomas and Tobias are two generations below Belinda Yielding.


Cashel side Blennerhassett side Line Cousins Chromosome Match
Niall Humphreys Isolde Somers Thomas 6.0 22 12 cM
Frank McGrath Isolde Somers Thomas 6.0 13 11 cM
Frank McGrath Billy Butler Thomas 5.0 5 10 cM
Niall Humphreys Billy Butler Thomas 5.1 5 10 cM
Donal Duggan Billy Butler Thomas 5.1 5 10 cM
Helen McGrath Terrence Donahoe Tobias 5.1 unknown 10 cM
Frank McGrath Terrence Donahoe Tobias 5.1 unknown 10 cM
Kathrin Riordan Terrence Donahoe Tobias 6.0 unknown 10 cM
James Riordan Terrence Donahoe Tobias 6.0 unknown 9 cM
Desmond Conacher Vincent Butler Thomas 6.0 18 9 cM

  

Could all of these happen by chance?

Recall we chose the family first, based on fragments of evidence in the documents, and then, having picked the family in advance, we got these hits. It is quite a list to get by chance. Let us summarise it again:
  

  

DNA analysis

So we have strong DNA matches with Blennerhassett and Yielding.
We have found our family, which is the Blennerhassett Baronets / Yielding family.
But how exactly do we fit in?
  

Baronets branch has a double link to Yielding

What a Yielding match means is complex because the Baronets branch has a double link to Yielding.
The 1st Baronet's parents are Robert Blennerhassett of Mount Rivers and Frances Yielding.
Their son Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet married his 1st cousin Millicent Agnes Yielding.
So in fact all of our matches descend from Yielding.
Is it possible we descend from Yielding but not Blennerhassett? That could still explain the DNA.
  

All theories that explain the DNA

Here are the possible theories:

In the DNA summary above, we showed the cousin numbers assuming theory B1 is true.
Now we say the other theories are worse. By "worse" we mean they make the cousin numbers worse / blood relationship more distant, but you still have to explain the DNA matches.

This table shows how the theories change the blood relationships, compared with the default theory B1. We divide our samples into the groups above. This is what happens to the blood relationships:

Group of DNA matches Blood relationship
if B1 is true
B2 B3 B4 Y1 Y2 Y3 Y4 Y5
Millicent Agnes Same Worse [1] Worse Worse Worse [1] Worse Worse Worse Worse
William Same Worse Worse Worse Worse [2] Better Worse [2] Worse [2] Worse
William plus Blennerhassett Same Worse Better [3] Worse Worse Better [3] Worse Worse Worse
Belinda Same Worse Worse Worse Worse [2] Worse [2] Better Worse [2] Worse

Notes:

Analysis:

  

Conclusion

  


DNA proof - Triangulation

Triangulation can allow us see if the segment match is through the Blennerhassett/Yielding/Cashel line or through some other line.
   
 

Triangulation of 7th Baronet with our family

The 7th Baronet matches two people in our family at the same location.



Two people inside our family:
DNA match of Nuala Duggan and Kathrin Riordan on Chromosome 19.
They are known relations so this is no surprise.



DNA match of Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet and Nuala Duggan on Chromosome 19.



DNA match of Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet and Kathrin Riordan on Chromosome 19.

  
I call it as proved that Sir Adrian Blennerhassett, 7th Baronet, is related to our family through George Cashel and not through any other line.
   
 

Triangulation of Billy Butler with our family

Billy Butler matches three people in our family at the same location.



DNA match of Frank McGrath and Niall Humphreys on Chromosome 5.
They are known relations so this is no surprise.



DNA match of Frank McGrath and Donal Duggan on Chromosome 5.
They are known relations so this is no surprise.



DNA match of Donal Duggan and Niall Humphreys on Chromosome 5.
They are known relations so this is no surprise.



DNA match of Billy Butler and Frank McGrath on Chromosome 5.



DNA match of Billy Butler and Niall Humphreys on Chromosome 5.



DNA match of Billy Butler and Donal Duggan on Chromosome 5.


  

I call it as proved that Billy Butler is related to our family through George Cashel and not through any other line.


  

The name "Agnes"

Could "Letitia" be an error, and could "Agnes" be a clue?

Pursuing the name "Letitia Blennerhassett" got us nowhere.
"Letitia" could be an error. It is noted that none of the Cashels were given the name "Letitia".
If there is a female name in the Cashel family, it is "Agnes".



"Agnes" is a weak clue that we may descend from Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 1st Baronet and his wife Millicent Agnes Yielding.




Evidence - 1st Baronet had a daughter Melisent

So in May-June 2020, I found that the DNA predicted our ancestor as an unknown daughter of the 1st Baronet.
However, no daughter was found in the official histories, such as Burke's Peerage. I had looked for a daughter before, and not found one. Bill Jehan had not found one.

On 13 June 2020, this changed. I discovered that the 1st Baronet did have a daughter, Melisent Blennerhassett, baptised in Dublin in 1768, who is not in the official family histories.

There may turn out to be another daughter "Letitia", but for now the most likely theory is:

Looking at it from another angle, you could ask the question: Why is Melisent not in the Blennerhassett family histories? Possible reasons:

  1. She died as an infant. Quite possible. There is no evidence she exists as an adult.
  2. The compiler of the genealogy only thought to list sons. Unlikely. The 2nd Baronet's daughter was always listed.
  3. Melisent was written out of the family history due to some story such as an unapproved marriage. Quite possible.

So Melisent Blennerhassett could be the mother. Now we need to prove it from documents. I will not be totally finished until I see it on paper. This is the remaining mission.

  


Baptism of Melisent Blennerhassett, St.Peter's, Dublin, 16 Jan 1768.
St.Peter's parish records, P.0045.01 at RCB. Courtesy of the Director of the National Archives of Ireland.
See larger and full size.


   
 

"Letitia Blennerhassett" could be Letitia Hurly

If Melisent Blennerhassett is the mother, how could the family mis-remember such a rare name as Letitia Blennerhassett? Here is one way.

  


"Letitia Cashel"

We have discovered one reference to a "Letitia Cashel" in 1837.
Is it possible this is our ancestor?
  

"Letitia Cashel" sponsored the CoI baptism of Catherine Moulder on 6 August 1837 at Ballymacelligott, E side of Tralee.
Don't know if maiden name or married name.
From [Ballymacelligott and Ballyseedy CoI par records].
See other photo.

  

Theories of who Letitia Cashel could be

  1. She is Letitia Blennerhassett, a previously unknown daughter of the 1st Baronet, who ran away with a Mr. Cashel.

  2. She is born Letitia Cashel. She had an affair with, say, one of the sons of the 1st Baronet. They had a natural son, easily written out of the family history. The son, George Cashel, took the mother's surname.

  3. Alternative theory: She is Letitia Yielding.
    • As well as Cashel and Blennerhassett, DNA says we descend from Yielding.
    • There is in fact a Letitia Yielding (born 1777, died 1844). She apparently lived in Tralee parish and was buried in Ballymacelligott parish.
    • Could they be identical? Letitia Yielding runs away with Cashel. She uses the surname Cashel but reverts back to Yielding later.
    • Probably not. Letitia Yielding is written as "Letitia Yielding, spinster" in a court case in 1811.
    • See Yielding theory for more on whether Letitia Yielding could be our ancestor.

  

Summary of possible theories

Let us try to summarise all possible theories:
  1. No Blennerhassett ancestry.
  2. No Blennerhassett ancestry. But they are relatives. Descent from Yielding.
  3. Blennerhassett ancestry through Cashell line.
  4. Blennerhassett Baronet ancestry.
  5. Other Blennerhassett ancestry.
  

Theory: No Blennerhassett ancestry.

Theory makes no sense.

  

Theory: No Blennerhassett ancestry. But they are relatives. Descent from Yielding.

Theory could be true. But makes much less sense than Baronets theory.

  

Theory: Blennerhassett ancestry through Cashell line.

Theory makes no sense.

  

Theory: Blennerhassett Baronet ancestry.

The only theory that explains all the data.

  

Theory: Other Blennerhassett ancestry.

Theory makes no sense.

   

 

Some version of the family story is true

Through the almost impenetrable wall of 213 years of silence (from 1807 to 2020) the clues in the family stories were finally supported by the DNA, which says something in the stories is true. Somehow DNA from the Blennerhassett Baronets family was transmitted into the Cashel family and made George Cashel.

We do not know how, but something like the following. An unapproved marriage. A daughter disowned and maybe soon dead. A seduction of a Blennerhassett daughter by a man who ran. Or a man who was already married. Maybe a Blennerhassett male, having an affair with a local woman or a servant.

We may never know, but the DNA says it happened. Part of the family story is true. There was no long descent of a chain of Blennerhassetts from some unknown origin. This was a short and sudden descent from one of the glamorous, high-profile branches of the Blennerhassetts.

Let us summarise it again:

  
  


My ancestor Blennerhassett Cashel attends a lecture in 1899 in Cork by Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, 4th Baronet.
From Cork Examiner, March 29, 1899.
Blennerhassett Cashel was GSWR goods head at Cork, apparently 1893 to 1911.
The 4th Baronet was Catholic, succ 1849, President of Queens College Cork 1897-1904.
This is not really evidence of a relationship, since the 4th Baronet was a well-known figure in public life, Catholic, and the President of the College in the city where Cashel lived. Cashel used to go to these type of talks anyway. See Cashel at a similar lecture the year before, reported in Cork Examiner, March 17, 1898.
But it is interesting that the only Blennerhassett I can find on the same page as my family is from the Baronets branch.

According to the theory above they are 2nd cousins.


  
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