My Pilgrim Connection to Kim

I have known Kim for quite a while. We both lived in Lexington, Massachusetts at the same time for a while and we both attended the same Church in Acushnet years ago. I recently posted a photo of the Mayflower leaving New Bedford Harbor and she told me that she descended from two of the Pilgrims, so I thought that I would look at that connection in this Blog.

My Cooke Connection with Kim

Kim says she has a connection to Pilgrim Francis Cooke through two of his daughters. Kim also gave me access to her Ancestry tree:

If I count correctly, Francis Cooke is Kim’s 10th great-grandparent. When I check my tree, Francis is also my 10th great-grandparent. I think that means that Kim and I are 11th cousins on this line. Here is my top-down look:

I can tell already that things may get complicated. I descend from John Cooke who married Sarah Warren. Kim tells me she descends from the Warren Pilgrim line also. Kim descends from Mary Cooke who was born about 20 years after John. John was probably born in Leyden and Mary saw her first light in Plymouth. I see in my Mayflower Families Book on the Cooke family that John had a falling out with the Pilgrims on theological issues and ended up in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. This seemed to be an area of Massachusetts where dissenters ended up. Mary appears to have lived in Barnstable for a while where her husband John Thompson served in public office and she died in Middleborough.

The Next Cooke Generation

I’m going about this backwards as genealogy should properly go from the present to the past:


My ancestor Sarah Cooke married Arthur Hathaway and probably died in Dartmouth. Kim’s ancestor married Thomas Swift in Weymouth.

Speeding Up the Process

I had some problems getting all the ancestors onto an Excel Spreadsheet, but here is Kim’s side:

Kim’s line went west from New York to Ohio to Oregon. Here is my side:

My ancestors all stayed in the same general area. Plus I’m off a generation from Kim. That means we must be 11th cousins once removed.

Kim’s Richard Warren Connection

Kim’s connection to Richard Warren is through the wife of Thomas Swift above. Her name was Rachel Stockbridge:

On my side, I descend from Joseph Warren in my most direct path, but I also descend from Mary Warren his sister more than once. Then I already mentioned Sarah Warren above:

Here I color coded Kim’s line in orange. Here is the next generation:

My ancestors were all born in Plymouth. Kim’s ancestor Hannah was born in nearby Marshfield. Here is the next generation:

This is taking more work than our Cooke Tree. In the next generation, I add another branch:


Actually, I added two branches because I missed Joseph Bartlett back in 1639. Now I can say I’m related 6 ways to Richard Warren. I’ve got to get all of these ancestors down to Hannah Bradford. She is my second great grandmother who has all the Pilgrim ancestors. Next I’ll add what we had from the Cooke analysis above:

On the Warren side, Kim and I are 12th cousins. So we are 1/2 generation further out than on the Cooke line.

Here is the Warren Tree filled out:

This shows I have these relationships to Kim on the Warren line:

  • Once a 10th cousin twice removed
  • Three times an 11th cousin once removed
  • Two times a 12th cousin

Looking for Kim’s Other Cooke Ancestor

Kim told me she descended from two daughters of Francis Cooke. Kim’s other Cooke ancestor was Jane Cooke:

These two were born 22 years apart. I take it that her mom, Hester Mahieu was a robust woman and made it through many difficulties.

A Question of Genealogy

So far, I haven’t looked into any of the genealogy. The Mayflower Families Book on Francis Cooke brings Kim’s Jane Cooke line into question. Kim’s tree has Jacob Mitchell as the daughter of Jane Cooke. The Mayflower Book shows that Jane had Elizabeth, Thomas and Mary with Experience Mitchell. However, at some point, Jane dies and Experience Mitchell marries Mary. Mary’s last name is unknown as is her marriage date and Jane’s death date. So things are quite uncertain. The reason for assigning the last five children to Experience and Mary Mitchell is that there is a gap between Experience’s first three children and the last five.

Here is where Francis Cooke lived:

This is in the center of current day Plymouth. Here is what it looks like today:

The Cooke property was probably near the present-day Court House Museum which is the white building in the photo above.

Here is a map of where Richard Warren lived closer to the Harbor:


  • I’m related to Kim 6 ways on the Richard Warren Line
  • I’m related to Kim 1 way on the Francis Cooke Pilgrim Line. Kim had another potential Cooke ancestor, but that ancestor has not been verified.
  • I showed where Francis Cooke and Richard Warren lived on Leydon Street
  • Francis Cooke and Richard Warren must have known each other. Also their children who Kim and I descended from must have known each other and probably down to the next generation. At some point I’m sure they lost touch.
  • I’m sure I have these Pilgrim connections going back 400 years with other people that I know who live in the area. Kim was more of a surprise as she did not grow up in Plymouth County.





Breen Genealogy: Part 3

In my last Blog, I corrected some mistakes I made in my first Blog on my cousin’s genealogy. In this Blog, I’ll follow up on some Breen genealogy issues.

Too Many John Breens

A search at RootsIreland for births of John Breen from County Tyrone shows this:

It turns out that none of these are the my cousin’s grandfather John Breen. He shows up as Alexander Breen. However, the next to the last John Breen appears to be one shown as in the military in Hong Kong:

Here’s Tattyreagh

Our Hong Kong John Breen in 1911 said he was born in Drumragh:

This looks like basically the same place to me. However, I am guessing due to similar names and closeness geographically that this John could have been a cousin to our John Alexander Breen.

More On John Breen and Mary Quin(n)

In my previous Blog, I had surmised that John Breen and Mary Quin(n) were the grandparents of John Alexander Breen. This was based on the fact that the 1911 Census for Recarson showed that John Breen had an Aunt Isabella:

RootsIreland showed one Isabella Breen born in that time period in County Tyrone:

Here is her birthplace of Kilgort:

a marriage for John Breen and Mary quin(N)

I have found a marriage for this couple. Let’s see if the dates fit. In, the marriage looks like this:

At RootsIreland, the marriage looks like this:

If this information is right, this will push the genealogy back another generation. Based on the above, we would expect that John was born about 1831 and Mary was born about 1832. The first thing I would fact-check would be the age of Mary when her last child was born. I have this child to be Joseph Wilson Breen:

Joseph was born January 1876, so perhaps Mary was 44 when he was born. This is surely possible. Also note that in 1911, Mary gave her age on the Census as 76. Based on her age at marriage, she was probably a few years older. All the dates seem to be within reason. This is a good record to have, because the older the record, the more I trust the dates. Now I can update my Ancestry Tree and push back this couple’s birth dates yet again:

This is starting to look like a proper tree. At the top, I added rough birth dates in the early 1800’s for our new John Breen and Andrew Quin – Rusty’s third great grandparents.

Still, no parish records

I have still not found any Catholic Parish records for the Breens. I find the RootsIreland Civil Marriage record interesting. It shows that John Breen lived in Creevan, Parish of Donacavey. However, Mary Quin lived in Creevan, Parish of Drumragh. The note at the bottom of the record says “Fintona C.O.I Parish of Donacavey”. C.O.I means Church of Ireland which was the established Protestant Church. This leads to a few possibilities:

  • Is the record trying to say that Breen was from the Church of Ireland and Mary was Roman Catholic?
  • Is the record just giving the two different Parish boundaries (Church of Ireland and Catholic?)

Here is one reason there is no Donacavey Catholic Parish record for this marriage:

The National Library of Ireland Parish records begin in 1857 and this couple married in 1854. I also checked the Drumragh Parish, but there were no entries between February and May of 1854. So either there were no marriages during that time, or there was some sort of omission.

Fast Forward to 1912

In a recent email, Rusty tells me that his grandfather met his grandmother for the first time on the ship to New York.

One thing I don’t think I mentioned to you involves the ship passage.  According to Margie, my grandfather met my grandmother on the California.  They were from the same area, but had never met before.  She was traveling with her sister.  Apparently the two sisters had been to the United States before, and may of had family here already. 

Here is the outbound ship record for the two McCullough sisters:

I imagine that a long trip to the US would be good time to get to know someone and swap stories. Here is Anna returning to New York on about page 726:

I’m guessing that Anna wasn’t really a machinist.

Here is their nearest relative:

From what I can tell, here is where the McCulloghs lived in Ireland:

For reference, as I recall, I had that John Breen’s Aunt Isabella died in Beragh. At, this place is called Altdrumman:

This is where Anna and her sister were born.

More on the McColloughs

Here is Anna’s civil birth record:

But wait, there’s more:

From this, it looks like Anna was baptized before she was born. How could this be? From what I understand, there was a penalty for late registration of births. That resulted in some births being recorded later than they actually happened! In this case, obviously, trust the baptismal record.

I expanded my search at RootsIreland and came up with this extended family from Altdrumman sometimes known as Streefe (but apparently not Streffe).

Michael McCullough and Ann Henry

I couldn’t easily find a marriage for this couple. A search for Michael McCullough resulted in two people born closely together. One was from the parish of Ardboe or Arboe which seemed further away. So I went with this one:

This appears to be Fernagh:

IF first you don’t succeed….

I tried another marriage search for just Ann Henry and came up with this:

Silly me, I was looking for a McCullough marriage instead of a McMullaw marriage. Even though I entered McCull in my search, this didn’t show up. So, good thing I found this as I may have had Michael’s birth wrong. This time I searched with the father as John and found the Michael from Ardboe Parish again. So I expanded the dates and found an older Michael here:

Here the places sound more familiar and even the spelling of the last name is similar. However, I wouldn’t trust the spelling of McSoarly. I believe that McSorley is a more standard spelling.

I had given up finding Ann Henry’s birth record, but now that we have her marriage record, it should be easy to find.

Actually, I was leaning toward this record as the Parish sounded most familiar. Here is a new McCullough family tree:

Here is a summary of Rusty’s dad’s Breen ancestors as far as I can tell now:

Breen Genealogy: Part 2

In my last Blog, I went over my cousin’s YDNA results and some of his genealogy. The genealogy focused in on Rusty’s grandfather John Alexander Breen. A key document I found lead me to believe that John Breen was in the Royal Innishkilling Fusilliers in 1911:

Here was a John Breen who was the right age and was born about the right place. I then supposed that this was the same as a John O’Brien who enlisted twice. However, at the end of my elaborate story I found a document showing John Breen in the 1911 Irish Census that contradicted the above Census:

Here was apparently another John Breen, the same age, in the same census who was living in Recarson. This was significant as John’s ship records from the following year said that he and his mother Mary Breen were from Deverney. According to, “Deverney is in the townland of Recarson.” Now a Townland is usually a fairly small area. So a portion of a Townland is very specific.

That means that I have to prefer this Census above over the Military Census. There is a clear chain of custody. John Breen ended up in Philadelphia. His ship records say he was born in Deverney (part of Recarson). So we have to go with Recarson. The good news is that now we have extra relatives that we didn’t have before.

From Rusty’s YDNA test, we are pretty sure that he is not of the male line of Breen. However, now with a Breen grandmother, we cannot tell where the line was broken. Before I was assuming that it was Rusty’s grandfather John Breen’s mother that was the Breen. However, that is not as clear now. The family story was that John Breen was orphaned. This could very well be the case, as his mother and father are not in this Census.

Isabella Breen, 39 in 1911 – Born in County Tyrone

I would like to find the grandmother, but finding a Mary that married a Breen would be difficult. Isabella should have been born around 1872. Perhaps she can be found in a Parish Register. I was able to find Isabella in one Ancestry Tree from an Irish researcher:

From the above tree, the parents of Isabella, are referenced in this 1901 Camowen Census:

Here is a map depiction of Camowen Townland:

Here is part of a Cappagh Parish Map showing Recarson and Camowen at the Southeast part of the Parish:

It appears that Isabella was working in Beagh in 1901:

This is likely Beagh:

Assuming my fellow Irish researcher got Isabella right, I searched RootsIreland for siblings:

This is putting a lot of pressure on Isabella to be Rusty’s relative. Fortunately, she has a less common name than John or Mary. It looks like the family of John Breen and Mary Quinn had at least five children. The first four were born South of Omagh and the last one was born to the North of Omagh. Here is Tullyvally:

A Breen Breakthrough

After coming up short several times searching for John Breen, I decided to search for Alexander Breen. Here is what I found at RootsIreland. This one document should straighten out a few things:

For one thing, it shows John aka Alexander being born in 1889 – not 1888. This is likely the place where the male McFarlane line comes into the picture. On John’s ship record to New York, he named his mother as Susan and here she is.  Now we have John’s birth name, his mother, grandparents and likely Aunts and Uncles. Thanks to the YDNA test, we likely had the last name of John’s father, before we didn’t know that we didn’t know his last name! This means that Rusty is still descended from the Breens – just not the male line of Breens.

Here is the picture I get of the family so far. I had to push back the birth dates that I had for John Breen and Mary Quin. I would guess that they were born around 1845. And I also pushed John Alexander’s birthday ahead a year.

Questions to Follow Up On and Other Items

  • I couldn’t find a birth record for Susan Breen. Could she be the same person as either Mary Jane, Isabella, or Margaret?
  • What happened to Susan? Isabella seemed to hang around. Is this because she was the same as Susan?
  • I haven’t yet found Parish Register entries for any Breen family births or for the marriage of John Breen and Mary Quinn.
  • I’m still not sure if John Breen was in the British Army
  • The John O’Brien of my last blog cannot be the same as John Breen as John O’Brien’s mom was Annie and I have shown that John Breen’s mom was Susan
  • It doesn’t appear that John was orphaned. In 1901 when he was 12, he was with his grandparents. However, he may have lived with another family before this time that I didn’t know about.