DNA, Migration

What Happened to William Killeen? (Revisited)

A DNA Match Suggests an Answer

A number of years ago, when I was researching my Killeen ancestry, I asked: What Happened to William Killeen? William, the son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn, was born in March township (Carleton County, Ontario) in 1832, and can be found in the 1851 Canadian census, living in the household of his older brother Patrick, his widowed mother Mary Ahearn, and numerous Killeen siblings. After 1851, however, he disappears from the Canadian records.

As I noted in the above-linked blog post, I had found a J.W. (James William) Killeen in Virginia City, Nevada, born in Canada about 1835, married to an Alice, occupation “Keeps Saloon.”  “Could this Nevada saloon keeper,” I asked, “be the son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn?” I had a hunch this might be the same William, but I had no documented evidence.

And now Ancestry DNA links me to a direct descendant of William James Killeen and his wife Alice, of Virginia City, Nevada, and later of Butte, Silver Bow, Montana (predicted relationship: 5th to 8th cousins; confidence: good). And I am now reasonably confident that, yes, William the Nevada saloon keeper was indeed the son of Denis Killeen and Mary Ahearn.

The family of William James Killeen and Alice Hickey.

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2 thoughts on “What Happened to William Killeen? (Revisited)”

  1. Ed Murphy says:

    What a great and exciting discovery!… I bet there should be some interesting stories to come from that research! DNA testing/sharing is starting to open up many of these roadblocks for genealogists. I am finding that almost all the various MURPHY families that settled in Mount St. Patrick might all be from the same family… Ive been getting many DNA matches from the various families that I previously thought were unrelated…. they all seem to come from the same area in Limerick which may have had a “shallow” mating pond! I still hope to find the documentation to prove these links but at least I am looking in the right pond!

    1. M.C. Moran says:

      That’s interesting about your Murphys, Ed. I suspect there are a number of these “ponds” (or, as Ancestry calls them, “genetic communities”) throughout the Ottawa Valley. I’m currently looking at my mother’s Forkhill, Armagh ancestry, and several distant-cousin DNA matches have helped to fill in a couple of gaps, or to substantiate what had only been hunches. However, given the lack of written records, it will never be possible to fully document these connections. Still, the DNA testing/sharing does open up some roadblocks, as you put it.

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