AutoKinship at GEDMatch

The AutoKinship tool was introduced on GEDmatch about a year ago. Developed by Evert-Jan Blom, AutoKinship is able to reconstruct trees based on shared DNA between shared matches. Genetic Affairs has AutoKinship for 23andMe data., as well as manual AutoKinship.  Manual AutoKinship can be performed for any site that allows you to view the amount of cM shared by your matches.  FamilyTreeDNA and Ancestry are the only companies that do not share this information.

When AutoKinship was first introduced for GEDmatch, the clusters were only made of matches that triangulated on segments of DNA. Recently the clustering was updated to include In Common With (ICW) matches that do not have a triangulated segment as well. Although I usually prefer to work with matches that have segment triangulation, clustering approaches work best when employing all ICW matches.

Figure 1 represents a cluster of 100 kits run in February 2022. It produced 17 clusters including 95 matches. Since these clusters only share triangulated segments there are not many grey cells.  I’ve labeled my two paternal second cousins (2C). Trish1 is on my dad’s mother’s side and my cousin I’ll call Frank is on my dad’s father’s side. Trish and I share 19 segments of DNA, and Frank and I share 9 segments.

Figure 1. AutoKinship clusters of 100 kits obtained in February 2022.

Rerunning my GEDmatch kit with the updated AutoKinship using 100 kits gave 26 clusters and lots of grey cells connecting matches, see figure 2.  Again, I’ve labeled my second cousins Trish and Frank.

Figure 2. AutoKinship clusters of 100 matches obtained in February 2023.

The Many Files in AutoKinship

To better understand the features of AutoKinship on GEDmatch (available for tier 1 users) we are going to look at what results are included in the AutoKinship run. After unzipping the file when I first open the AutoKinship folder I find nine folders, two HTML files, and an Excel file, see figure 3. This particular run was for 500 GEDmatch kits that match me.

Figure 3. Items in the AutoKinship folder.

I like to look at the AutoCluster for my results first. This is the autokinship.html file.  If it’s too large to be viewed the autokinship_no_chart.html file has all the information except for the visual of the clusters, and the Excel file will show the clusters such that the match names can be easily read.  My AutoCluster has 482 DNA matches and 87 clusters, so I’ll be using the Excel file to read the names of matches in each of the clusters.

Figure 4. Full AutoCluster.

Going down the screen below the large clusters in the HTML file is an explanation of each of the items performed in the analysis, as shown in figure 5.

Figure 5. Explanation of each of the analyses.

Next is a list of the results from the analysis. A partial list is shown in figure 6. This table shows all of the separate analyses that were performed as part of the AutoKinship analysis. These include the regular AutoCluster analysis, AutoTree (identification of common ancestors), AutoSegment (identification of groups of triangulated segments) and the AutoKinship analyses.

Figure 6.Partial list of results from the AutoKinship analysis.

Below the list of results is a listing of all the matches in each cluster. Figure 7 shows the match list for cluster 1. The match name and kit number are given along with the centimorgan shared, the number of shared matches that each match has, if the match has a gedcom tree on GEDmatch and the match’s email address. This AutoCluster information includes a listing of matches for all of the clusters.

Figure 7. List of matches for cluster 1.

Going back to the results of the AutoKinship analysis, shown in figure 6, I’m going to explain the various items based on cluster 33, since it has an entry in each column. On the far left is the cluster number.  Next is the number of matches in that particular cluster.  AutoTree will display a tree that is based on common ancestors identified in gedcoms that the matches in this cluster (and the gedcom linked to the tested person, if available) had posted on GEDmatch.  Clicking on the tree icon displays that tree, shown in figure 8, in another tab.

Figure 8. AutoTree for cluster 33.

The icon that looks like a book in column 4, displays the common ancestors found in that cluster. This is shown in figure 9. In this case I don’t have any ancestors in Arizona so it’s only listing some recent common ancestors of people in the cluster.

Figure 9. List of common ancestors in cluster 33.

The next column is location and shows where there are common locations for people in the cluster and the tester.  Typically there are several lists of places and matches, but I’ve only shown the first one in the figure. This is when I got super excited.  This one has County Limerick, Ireland. Matches in this cluster and I both have ancestors who lived in County Limerick! As shown in figure 10, Jeremiah Fenton, my fourth great grandfather, his son, William, and William’s granddaughter, Bridget Mary Fenton, my great grandmother, all lived in County Limerick.

Figure 10. This location of common ancestors shows our ancestors in County Limerick, Ireland.

The paternal side of my tree is shown in figure 11. My 2C Trish shares great grandparents, Thomas Byrnes and Bridget Fenton, with me.

Figure 11. The paternal side of my family tree.

Since I know a great deal about my Fenton family I had to go and look at the two trees listed here for B and J.  These would be the gedcoms that they had uploaded to GEDmatch.  Michael Carroll and Katherine Callaghan had a child Thomas born about 1830.  I looked for baptismal record for him and found his and five of his siblings’ baptismal records at Dromin & Athlacca Catholic parish.  Checking John Grenham’s site I found that the Civil parishes for these churches were Athlacca, Dromin and Uregare.  Dromin and Uregare were familiar names as I know some of my Fentons had lived there.  A quick check for Carrolls in Griffiths Valuation taken in 1851 in this part of Limerick, found John Carroll, Thomas’ brother, living in Cloonygarra, Dromin.  My second great grandfather John Fenton was in Maidenstown, Dromin in Griffiths Valuation. Figure 12 has a map showing this area of Civil Parish Dromin. These townlands are very near each other. 

Figure 12. Map of Townlands Maidstown and Cloonygarra in Dromin Civil Parish, County Limerick, Ireland.

Getting back to the AutoKinship diagram in figure 6 the icon that looks like an anchor opens a new tab with the AutoKinship tree predictions.  These are based only on the shared DNA of the matches and not on any gedcoms they might have added to their GEDmatch profile.  The first one that is shown has the highest probability, but there are nine other probability trees.  In this particular cluster the top six of mine all have the same probability.  Figure 13 has my AutoKinship tree 1.

Figure 13. First AutoKinship tree for cluster 33.

Below the AutoKinship tree list is a matrix of how the matches relate to each other, shown in figure 14.

Figure 14. Matrix for matches in Cluster 33.

Both in the AutoKinship tree and the matrix you can see the parent-child relationship for J and B, as well as the sibling relationship for E and U. (You can click on the siblings and see if there is full identical regions (FIR) data to backup the sibling claim!) The AutoKinship probability tree suggests that the matches are 4C or 3C1R to me. All of the matches share about 14 cM with me. My known Fenton cousins that share common fourth great grandparents with me share 15.5 cM.  

To the right of the AutoKinship tree in figure 6 is the AutoKinship tree that includes the AutoTree that is based on the gedcom that the matches loaded to GEDmatch.  Figure 15 shows this for the first probability AutoKinship prediction.

Figure 15. AutoKinship tree that includes the AutoTree.

The last icon in figure 6 brings up the AutoSegment data in a new tab.  The top of the window shows the chromosome(s) where the matches are located.  Further down the page is the list with the segment data. These data are shown in figure 16.

Figure 16. Chromosome segments for cluster 33.

Seeing the DNA segments on chromosome 4 here made me go and look at my DNA Painter profile on chromosome 4.

Figure 17. Chromosome 4 DNA Painter segments showing my Fenton matches.

The Fenton 5C are descendants of my William Fenton’s brother Timothy.  Our most recent common ancestor couple (MRCA) would be my fourth great grandparents Jeremiah and Norah Fenton. My Fenton line out to Jeremiah is shown in figure 18.  Prior to running this GEDmatch cluster I had painted some of the matches who are showing up in this cluster.

Figure 18. My Fenton family line.

Matches from AutoKinship

To go back to the original AutoKinship folder, shown in figure 3, each of the folders contains the data for that particular feature that we saw in the results of the AutoKinship in figure 6.  The ‘gedcom’ folder has the AutoTree gedcom for each one that had an AutoTree.  The ‘gephi’ folder has the data needed for gephi software.  Matches contains a cluster of matches for each person that appeared in my match set.  For example, this file in the matches folder is for my 2C, Trish.

Her cluster is shown in figure 19.  Trish is in the orange cluster 1, and the long line of grey cells shows how all the matches in this cluster are connected to her.  In the matches folder there is an HTML file that contains a clustering report of all the ICW matches for each person that is listed as a match to me in the original analysis.  This makes for an easy way to find all the shared matches and clustering patterns for each person that matches Trish and me.

Figure 19. Trish’s matches.

I’ve added Mark’s location on Trish’s cluster. Mark is an interesting match to me. We share two segments. One of them on chromosome 12 that triangulates with Trish and me, and the other is on chromosome 20 and it triangulates with Frank and me. Normally when I find a match who shares more than one segment my first assumption is that both of them connect to the same MRCA. That is certainly the simplest situation.  But Mark doesn’t follow that simple assumption. Mark’s father also matches Frank on chromosome 20, so that line has to be Mark’s father’s side of his family. It turns out Mark’s paternal grandmother was a Byrne, and the segment on chromosome 12 that matches Trish is from his father’s mother’s side. The match file for Mark is on figure 20.

Figure 20. Mark’s matches on GEDmatch.

Mark’s family immigrated from Ireland to Canada. There are several triangulated DNA matches with Frank and me who live in Canada. The Aides side of the family immigrated through Buffalo, NY on their way to Wisconsin. Our Barrys settled in Evans, Erie County just south of Buffalo. No passenger list has been found for the Barrys. Thomas Barry was listed in the 1845 House Books, which was one of the precursor surveys just prior to Griffiths Valuation. But he is not listed in the 1848 House book which gives a hint to when the family immigrated. They were listed in Evans in the 1855 New York State census and indicated they lived there for five years. The hypothesis is that the Barrys immigrated from Ireland to Canada and then to Evans, New York. Since Canada and Ireland were both part of the Great Britain, there would be no passenger lists for travel between those two countries. Passage to Canada from Ireland was a lot less expensive than transport to the United States. At that time there was also no paperwork required to cross the border between Canada and the United States so there were no records,

Exploring ICW Connections

Since the updated AutoKinship on GEDmatch gives information about ICW matches there are more connections to be discovered. Looking at Frank and the Barry side of my family our MRCA are Edward Barry and Pauline Fröhlich. Edward was born in Kilkenny, Ireland and Pauline in Baden, Germany. Separating which of our great grandparents a DNA match is related to can often be done based on where the matches’ families lived.

Looking at the 100 kit AutoKinship clusters from figure 2, Frank is in cluster 22. He has two copies of his DNA on GEDmatch. He is the third and fourth member of green cluster 22 and has grey cells to four matches in cluster 25, see figure 21.

Figure 21. Frank’s matches to clusters 25 and 26.

Clusters 25 and 26 are particularly interesting in that several of the matches live in County Kilkenny. Frank and my MRCA from Kilkenny was Edward Barry.  His parents were Thomas Barry and Mary Aide. Frank and I share a large DNA segment on chromosome 20, see figure 22. Matt, Dot, and Dan all triangulate with Frank and me there. Dot descends from the Aide side of the family. Our MRCA was likely Mary Kilfoil, but we don’t know if she was Mary Aide’s mother or grandmother. Since a segment of DNA can only come from one ancestor this large segment on chromosome 20 must be from the Aide side of the family.

Figure 22. Some matches on chromosome 20 that triangulate with Frank and me.

Matt, and Mary live in Kilkenny. Tom is a descendant of a Barry family that lives in Sugarstown, Kilfane, Kilkenny which is less than 10 miles from Moanroe Commons where Thomas Barry and Mary Aide lived. Dan’s family was from Counties Wexford and Carlow which are next to Kilkenny.

Since several of these ICW matches live or have family living in Kilkenny, I decided to look for marriages between Barry or Aide and any of the matches’ surnames. Found a marriage to Aide in 1806 and followed the children’s baptisms and marriages out for a couple generations. But then there were no more marriage or baptismal records, and it was too early for anything to be in civil registration. So now I have a small rabbit-hole-tree that probably won’t go any further at trying to figure out the connection.


AutoKinship provides many different tools for exploring shared matches with your DNA matches. Now having all ICW matches including those with segment triangulation is going to be an improvement to GEDmatch AutoKinship.

  1. Trish has given permission for me to use her real name. All other living person’s names are fictitious.

RootsTech 2022

This year RootsTech will again be virtual and free! And it’s less than a week away!! You can register for RootsTech here. This year the conference is Thursday, 3 March through Saturday, 5 March. The Expo will open at 8 AM MST with the Expo Party! The first keynote speaker is at 10 AM and the ‘On Demand’ content will be available at 11 AM MST. Perhaps this weekend or by Monday you’ll be able to view the list of presentations and add the ones you want to see to your playlist.

This year I have three presentations using both my DNA and Irish research. We were asked to keep the presentations to 20 minutes, so the story goes across all three of them.

Using Clusters, Paintings and Trees to Find Your Common Ancestors.

In Part 1 we explore the different types of clusters available at Genetic Affairs for DNA matches. Then we pick a luster that contains the specific match, called ‘Joe Smith’, to investigate further. Using the profile information for the matches in the cluster, we determine that the match to my cousin and me is on Joe’s paternal side.

In Part 2 we use Cluster Auto Painter to load the segments from the cluster selected in Part 1 to DNA Painter. This shows the triangulation on multiple segments with Joe and my second cousin and me.  We then use Genetic Affairs AutoKinship to investigate the relationship among people in the cluster.

In Part 3 we use available Irish records online to build out a family tree for Joe, the DNA match of interest. We determine that his second great grandparents were in the same area of Ireland at the same time as when mine were.  Then we develop an hypothesis as to the family connection.

DNA Painter

My 2021 presentations on Using DNA Painter, adding data from 23andMe and from MyHeritage will also still be available if you missed them last year.

Also this year DNA Painter will have a booth in the virtual Expo. Come by and see what’s new. Jonny Perl, Leisa Byrne and I will be there to answer your DNA Painter questions. Since the 3 of us live on different continents, it’s likely that at least one of us will be there all the time during the conference. Come by and say ‘Hi!’

Looking for Thomas Barry in Kilkenny, Ireland before 1840

We know that Thomas Barry and his wife Mary Aide lived in Moanroe Commons, Knocktopher, Kilkenny when their son, Edward, was baptized at Ballyhale Catholic church in February 1840, and when their daughter, Mary was baptized in May 1843. Also Thomas Barry is listed in the 1845 House Book for Moanroe Commons, however, he is not listed in the 1848 House Book nor in Griffiths Valuation in 1850.  In 1855 New York State Census Thomas, wife Mary, and children, Edward and Mary, are listed in Evans, Erie County, New York, and it indicates that they have lived in the same location for 5 years.  The 1875 New York State Census lists that Thomas Barry died 25 March of that year at age 63 or 65, and that Mary Barry died 12 September 1874 at age 65 (see earlier blog post).

Where was Thomas prior to 1840?  Ballyhale Catholic church baptismal records prior to 1823 and all early marriage records have not survived.  It is not known when or where Thomas or Mary Aide were baptized or when or where they married.

A DNA Match Connection

I have a DNA match to a Barry family that lived in Sugarstown, Kilfane, Kilkenny, which is 12 km (7.5 mi) from Moanroe Commons.  Sugarstown is in the Thomastown Catholic parish, where many older baptism and marriage records have survived.  There is a baptism of a Thomas Barry, son of J Barry and Ellen Shea, on 19 Nov 1812.  That year would fit for my Thomas Barry’s birth based on the age given in his death record.  Could this be my 2nd great grandfather?  

Thomas Barry’s 1812 baptism lists James Comerford as one of his sponsors.  Looking at the tree from my Barry DNA match James Comerford was a witness at the wedding of his 3rd great aunt, Mary Barry, also at Thomastown Catholic church.  Is there a connection between this Thomas Barry’s family and my DNA match’s family?

John Barry and Ellen Shea had four other children: Alexander (born 1807), Paul (1810), Margaret (1815), and Judith (1818). For Alexander’s and Judith’s baptisms the residence is given as Oldtown.  No residence is given for Thomas’s, Paul’s or Margaret’s. There are four Oldtown in Kilkenny, however, the Oldtown in civil parish Jerpointchurch is the only one that has Thomastown Catholic church.  It is 3.5 km (2 mi) between Moanroe Commons and Jerpointchurch.  Oldtown is not on a modern map. 

Alexander and Paul are both unusual names in Ireland, which made it easy to find other records for them.1 John Barry is listed in Tithe Applotment with 7 acres in Oldtown, Jerpointchurch in 1833.  As would be expected Alexander, the oldest son, inherited that land and is in the 1850 Griffith Valuation in Oldtown, Jerpointchurch.  It was pretty easy to find Alexander’s marriage and their children and then his death in the civil records.  Paul never married and worked as a porter at the Workhouse in Thomastown.  There were three possible marriages for Margaret and two for Judith, which I’ve not pursued so far.  Figure 1 shows the family tree I built for Alexander down to living people, whose names are blocked off.  

Figure 1. Alexander Barry’s family tree.

Alexander’s grandson, Richard, immigrated to the US, and I was able to find several trees for Richard on Ancestry.  I sent messages to all the tree owners and was surprised to receive replies within a week.  One of them gave me the name of a potential 4th cousin, who was his DNA match.  She does not match me, but there’s only a 45% chance that a 4th cousin would match.  I sent her a message, but I’ve not received a reply.   There are several other descendants who could be DNA matches, and I need to follow up with them.

Can I Prove my Hypothesis?

That got me thinking of other Thomas Barrys in that part of Kilkenny.  Another way to prove a hypothesis is to show that none of the other Thomas Barrys could possibly be the one baptized in 1812 in Thomastown.  Starting with civil parishes connected to Thomastown Catholic parish I looked at Griffiths Valuation for these areas.  

There is a Thomas Barry (Thomas #1) in Stoneen, Kilfane in Griffiths Valuation in 1850, see figure 2.  Stoneen is 7 km (about 4 miles) from Moanroe Commons.  There is also an Andrew Barry listed here, but I don’t know who he is.  Could he be Thomas #1’s brother?

Figure 2. Griffiths Valuation for Stoneen, Kilfane, Kilkenny.

Looking for Thomas #1 marriage in Thomastown Catholic parish I found that he married Betty Mulloy 15 Aug 1836.  They had a dispensation for 3rd degree and 4th degree on the marriage record.  Third degree means 2nd cousins, and 4th degree means 3rd cousins.  Likely Thomas’ great grandparents were Betty’s 2nd great grandparents.   Elizabeth Molloy, daughter of Edmund Molloy and Margaret Kealy of Stoneen was baptized 21 Jul 1813 in Thomastown RC.  This is likely the bride in this listing.  I didn’t find a baptism for Thomas #1, which makes me wonder if he’s the Thomas Barry baptized in 1812 in Thomastown. Had he been from some other Catholic parish I’d have expected to see a note on the marriage record about receiving a certificate from another parish that indicated he’d been baptized there.  If he were baptized in 1812 he would about the same age as Betty when they married.

They had 5 children all baptized at Thomastown.  Ellen was baptized 23 Aug 1836, 8 days after the parents wedding.  This was definitely the oddest thing I’ve found in looking at the records!  I double checked the dates on both the marriage and this baptism to make sure I had the correct records. Their other children were Elizabeth (1839), Anastasia (1840), Mary (1842), and Rose (1846), see figure 3.  Following this family I could not find civil death records from Thomas or Elizabeth.  It’s possible they died prior to the 1864 beginning of civil death records.  I also couldn’t find any marriage records for any of the daughters, nor civil death records for any of them.  Either the family all died, perhaps in the famine, or they emigrated from Ireland.  

Figure 3. Thomas #1 family tree.

Next I looked for Andrew Barry, who appeared in the Griffiths Valuation for Stoneen.  Andrew Barry is the son of John Barry and Mary Barron baptized at Thomastown Catholic church in 1814.  The family residence was given as Stoneen.  Other children of this family were Laurence (1818), Thomas #2 (1823), and Margaret (1827).   Thomas #2 cannot be Thomas #1 as he would only be 13 in 1836 when Thomas #1 married.  

Thomas #2 married Ellen Ryan at Tullaherin Catholic church 30 Aug 1854.   Thomas and Ellen’s children were: Patrick (1855), Maryann (1857), Judith (1860), Andrew (1866), Bridget (1867), Margaret (1870), Ellen (1873), and Johanna (1876), see figure 4.  Thomas #2 died 17 Feb 1898, age 75, which agrees with his being born in 1823.  He was a laborer and the informant was Ellen Barry, likely his wife or perhaps his daughter Ellen.

Figure 4. Thomas #2 family tree.

I found an extensive tree for Thomas #2 on Ancestry, and there is a photo of the family tombstone in Kilfane Cemetery.  Bernie and Mary sent me information about this tombstone that was erected by Ellen Ryan Barry in memory of her husband, Thomas.  It also has information about their children: Mary Ann, Johanna, Bridget, Margaret, and Andrew who died young, as well as their daughter Johanna Walsh, her husband Walter and their daughter Anne.

Is Thomas #2 the one on Griffiths Valuation in Stoneen?  As the 4th son in the family his brother Andrew would have inherited the land from his father, so it seems unlikely.  Could Thomas #2 have inherited a farm from his father-in-law?  

There is an Ellen Ryan, daughter of Edmund Ryan and Mary Flannery baptized 1 Feb 1834, who is likely the Ellen Ryan who married Thomas #2.  Edward Ryan is in the Tithe Applotment in Stoneen as well as being in Griffiths Valuation in Stoneen along with Andrew Barry and Thomas Barry, see circled names in figure 2.  This makes it unlikely that he gave his farm to son-in-law Thomas Barry #2.  Also Thomas #2 death record said he was a laborer and not a farmer.  Thomas Barry #2 is not the one in Griffiths Valuations in Stoneen.

At this point I’ve not been able to prove my hypothesis that Thomas Barry baptized at Thomastown in 1812 is my 2nd great grandfather. More research is needed.


I have a DNA match to a Barry family who lived in Sugarstown, Kilfane, Kilkenny, but I don’t know how my Barry family connects to them.  Kilfane is in the Thomastown Catholic parish.  There’s a Thomas Barry baptism there in 1812, which is about when my 2nd great grandfather was born based on his age at death. I have a hypothesis that this Thomas Barry is my 2nd great grandfather.  John Barry and Ellen Shea were the parents of that Thomas and had 4 other children; Alexander, Paul, Margaret and Judith.  Alexander and Paul are unusual names which made it easy to follow Alexander’s family down to a potential 4th cousin.  She had done DNA test, but we did not match. There’s a 55% chance that 4th cousins won’t share any DNA.

Another way to prove my hypothesis would be to show that being my 2nd great grandfather was the only possible solution.   I looked at other Thomas Barrys in the area.  Thomas Barry #1 married Ellen Ryan and had 5 daughters.  I cannot find a baptismal record for him, which makes it possible that he is the 1812 baptism.  However, since he’s listed in Griffiths Valuation in Stoneen, and would not have inherited land if he were John Barry and Ellen Shea’s son Thomas, it suggests that he is not the Thomas Barry baptized in 1812. I cannot find marriages for any of his daughters, nor death records for any of the family.  It seems very likely that they emigrated from Ireland.

Thomas Barry #2 married Ellen Ryan and had eight children.  I was able to find his baptismal record, marriage, baptismal records of his children, his civil death record, and tombstone in Kilfane.  His life is totally documented.

Next I am going to look for Thomas Barry baptismal records in a wider range of Kilkenny.  As well as looking at other DNA matches that triangulate with the Sugarstown Barry family and me.

  1. FIona Fitzsimmions, transcript of online chat, 12 Dec 2020, privately held by Coleman, Grand Marais, MN.

Thomas Barry in Kilkenny, Ireland

Like everything else this year the Celtic Connections Conference went virtual.  That gave me the opportunity to attend, as the dates of the live event would have conflicted with several local things I would have been involved with.  There were several presentation dealing with Griffiths Valuation.  Although I’d used it several times in the past, I learned a great deal more about it in the conference.  

Griffiths Valuation

The Griffiths Valuation was a property tax based on what income could be produced annually from the land.   It was carried out from 1847 to 1864 starting in the south of Ireland and moving north.  Every area of land and building were measured and the person leasing the property was named.  Irish census began in 1821 and occurred every 10 years, however the majority of the census records were either destroyed by the 1922 fire at Four Courts or were pulped for making paper in WWI.  The only fully existing census records are from 1901 and 1911.  Some fragments of earlier census exist and can be found on the National Archives of Ireland website. Because of the loss of early census records the Griffith Valuation and the Revision books are now used by genealogists as census substitutes.

Thomas Barry, 2nd Great Grandfather

My 2nd great grandfather was Thomas Barry.  My Dad had built extensive family trees for both his side of the family and my Mom’s family.  As the only child I obtained all the records after their deaths.  Dad’s information said that Thomas Barry and his wife Mary (Aide) Barry lived in the Village of Ballyhale, County Kilkenny, Ireland.  I found baptismal records for Edward, my great grandfather, born in 1840 and for his sister, Mary, born 1843.  The Roman Catholic church there did not have any records that had survived for Thomas and Mary’s wedding or either of their baptisms.

After learning that FindMyPast listed the exact date that the Griffiths Valuation was printed, and that it took 3 months to compile and print, I decided to look and see if Thomas Barry, was listed there.  Griffiths Valuation for Kilkenny was published in April 1850.  I really didn’t expect to find him listed there, as the 1855 census for Evans, Erie County, New York state indicated the family had been residence there for 5 years.

The children’s baptismal records indicated the townland where the family lived at that time.  Edward’s baptismal record is shown in figure 1. Starting at the left it has Feby 11 Ned Tom Barry Mary Aide and on the 2nd line Martin Millea Cath Millea and Moanroe.  Mary’s baptismal record in 1843 also listed Moanroe.

Figure 1. Edward Barry’s baptismal record 11 Feb 1840 Ballyhale Catholic Parish, Kilkenny

I looked for Thomas Barry in Griffiths Valuation in Moanroe Commons, Kilkenny.  To my surprise I found that Thomas Barry leased land in Moanroe Commons along with Anastasia Barry.  I had no idea who Anastasia Barry was, as far as anyone in the family.  I knew she had to be a widow, as the only women in Griffiths Valuation were either widows on their husband’s land or the landowner, and she was clearly not the owner here.  But where did Thomas live?  I broadened my search to nearby townlands and found that he had a house in Knocktopher Manor which was next door to Moanroe Commons.  The Griffiths Valuation for Knocktopher Manor is in figure 2.  Anastasia had a house next door to Thomas, and the land they shared in Moanroe Commons backed into the location of their houses.  Figure 2 is a composite of the top of the page of Griffiths Valuation which shows the column heading and the listings for Knocktopher Manor which was at the bottom of the page. 

Figure 2. Griffith Valuation for Knocktopher Manor, Knocktopher, Kilkenny.

The numbers and letter in the first column indicate the location on the map, and the small a and b indicates house.  Column 2 has the name os the occupants.  Parentheses surrounding Thomas’ and Anastasia’s names  indicate that each of them is responsible for the tax on the house and land.  The immediate lessor is Thomas Norman, Esq. who seems to lease a good bit of land here.  He may not be the actual owner and was subletting the land, but more research is needed to determine that. Column 3 has house, office and land.  An office is not what we’d think of today.  It could be a barn, or a stable. Content of the land is in acres, roods and perches.  A rood is 1/4 of an acre, and there are 40 perches in a rood.  The net value would be how much income could be expected from that land in a year.  The net value of the buildings would mainly be for the house.  They had to pay tax of 1£ 2 shilling on the house. I learned from Fiona Fitzsimmons Celtic Connections presentation that a house with a tax about this amount would be made of cob walls.  Cob was made from mud and straw and usually white-washed to help keep out the weather.  When the house was abandoned, and no one was any longer living there, heating it and caring for it, the house would just melt into the landscape.  Using the numbers in column 1 we can look on the map and find the location. The map for Knocktopher Manor and Moanroe Commons is shown in figure 3.  I’ve circled 6a and b in Knocktopher Manor where Thomas and Anastasia Barry lived.  The land they had in Moanroe Commons is 11, so it basically is their back yard.

Figure 3. Map showing Moanroe Commons and Knocktopher.

What’s more Thomas’ next door neighbor was Martin Millea.  His house is at 5a, shown both in figures 2 and 3.  It just happened that Martin Millea was one of the sponsors on Edward’s baptismal records, shown in figure 1!  This had to be my Thomas Barry!!  That would leave just about a 6-month window from when they left Ireland and arrived in the US. I planned to add several months on either side when I started digging in ship arrival records, just in case. My latest hypothesis was that this was my Thomas Barry and Anastasia was his mother.  This totally threw out two earlier hypotheses I had.  One was based on a Barry DNA match whose family was in Thomastown, and had a Thomas baptized in 1812 with parents Js Barry and Ellen Shea.  That hypothesis had been based on this Thomas’ baptismal record that showed James Comerford as the sponsor, and he had been a witness at the wedding of Mary Barry, who was a daughter in the family there.  Thomastown RC is the next RC parish to Ballyhale RC and only a few miles away, so it seemed a reasonable hypothesis.  The other hypothesis was based on an Aide cousin to Thomas’ wife, Mary, whose naturalization papers said he’d arrived in the US via Buffalo, NY in 1846.  Buffalo is only a short distance from Evans, NY and since families, neighbors and friends often traveled from Ireland to US, this also seemed a reasonable hypothesis.

Anastasia Barry

So who is Anastasia Barry? There’s no mention of her in any of the family notes or tree that my Dad had done. But then again he never says anything about Thomas’ parents. Dad likely got his family information from his father, Frank, who would have gotten it from Edward. My Dad was only 5 when his grandfather Edward died. It’s unlikely his grandfather told him any family information. Edward, born in 1840 and in the US at least by 1855, may not have known his grandparents at all. That would mainly depend on when the family left Ireland and Edward’s age at the time.

I searched FindMyPast baptismal records for Ballyhale Catholic parish using Barry surname and An* as the mother’s forename and found two records; Margaret born in 1825 and Nellie born in 1831. The earliest surviving baptismal records for Ballyhale Catholic parish are in 1823 according to John Grenham’s website. Thomas likely was born before that time. Those two baptismal records list John Barry as the father and Anastasia Riley as the mother. Potentially these are Thomas’ parents and Margaret and Nellie are his sisters.

Revision Books

Every few years after the Griffiths Valuation a revision was done.  Since this was a record for collecting tax, it was necessary to update the person living there that would be required to pay the tax.  The Revision books started just after Griffith Valuation and continued to the 1980s.  These Revision books are housed in the Valuation Office in Dublin.  Some have been digitized, but not all, and none of them are online at this time.  I emailed the Valuation Office asking about this location where Thomas Barry was in Knocktopher Manor.  I fully expected a reply telling me how to apply for the information and the cost.  However, the next day I received an email with 2 pages from the Revision books.   Thomas took over the lease from Anastasia in the 1860-62 timeframe.  That likely indicates that she died, but Civil records for death did not start until 1878. Thomas is replaced by Eliza Barry in 1882, and Eliza is replaced by Richard Moore in 1883.  Figure 4 shows the Revision book for 1876-1883.

Figure 4. Revision book for 1876-1883 showing Thomas Barry in Knocktopher.

Checking the civil death records Thomas died 31 Oct 1881 as reported by his son, John.  Elizabeth Barry, widow of Thomas Barry, farmer, died 8 May 1882 again reported by son John.  This is not my Thomas Barry, as I know he was in NY in June 1855.  I’d heard many times how unusual the surname Barry was in Kilkenny.  So it had never occurred to me that there could be two Thomas Barry’s in the same area of Kilkenny!  

Validation Books

Now what to do?  Prior to Griffiths Valuation there had been Field Books which described the land, quality of the soil etc but also listed the name of the person on that land.  There had also been House Books which listed the houses on the land and what had already been surveyed in preparation for the later valuation.  FindMyPast had Field books from 1848 and House books for 1845 and 1848.  Thomas Barry who lived in Knocktopher Manor and died in 1881 was found with his house in Knocktopher Manor in 1845 and 1848.  But looking at the House books also for Moanroe Commons, since the children’s baptismal records said that was where my Thomas Barry lived, I couldn’t find him in 1848, but there he was in 1845!  In the 1845 House Book both my Thomas Barry in Moanroe Commons and the Thomas Barry who had a house in Knocktopher Manor were listed!  This appears to tell me that my Thomas Barry who was there in 1845 and not in 1848 left Ireland for the US after 1845 and before 1848.  Maybe they did travel with the Aide cousins, and maybe he was baptized in 1812 in Thomastown.  Lots more research needs to be done.  But now I do have an earliest date for his arrival in the US when I start searching passenger records.