Uncovering long lost relatives is a common occurrence in genealogy research.
One of the most fantastic things about doing family tree research is meeting relatives that you never knew existed. During the summer I was fortunate enough to meet a new O’Gorman 3rd cousin Terri.
It would probably be useful to give you a very quick family history from a very long story.
From my family’s perspective… my great grandfather Patrick O’Gorman ran a greengrocer shop in Rathmines. Across the road there was a pork butcher shop called O’Gormans Pork Butchers. My mum and her mum were both told there was no relation between the two shopowners.
From my new 3rd cousin’s Terri’s perspective… her grandfather Peter O’Gorman ran a Pork Butcher shop in Rathmines and was she was unsure whether there was any family connection either.
So, were they or weren’t they related… ?
Michael Colohan, Terri’s husband, contacted me via a genealogy website. We investigated and strongly believed that Patrick and Peter were indeed brothers. We found their birth certificates on www.irishgenealogy.ie which proved it;.
As it happened, completely independently, my 2nd cousin Francis O’Gorman did a DNA test and Terri was listed as his 2nd cousin. I did the test subsequently and Terri came up as my 3rd cousin. The DNA match was spot on so there really was a biological connection so why were generations told they were not related? Both families lived not far from each other in Rathmines, Dublin – they must have bumped into each other all the time; ‘curiouser and curiouser’.
Do you ever find when doing genealogy research that just as you have made a major breakthrough, another big boulder is lurking underneath?
Well, firstly, when we met up at the O’Gorman reunion, there were family tree maps, pictures, memorabilia from the shop and the main question was… what happened between the brothers that caused generations to be told they were not related? I had explored Patrick and Peter’s fathers drowing in the Liffey in a previous blog post (note that Peter’s father is listed as dead on his birth certificate above).
Did their mother receive compensation from the City of Dublin Steampacket Company and was there was a falling out over money? Its a possibly but difficult to know.
The funny thing however was that during our meet up with Terri, it was only after talking for an hour or so that we discovered a problem. Their father’s pork butcher shop was not across the road from my great grandfather Patrick’s greengrocer shop. Terri’s grandfather’s shop according to their records was further down the Rathmines Road near Cathal Brugha Barracks heading towards Portobello. So, there was another O’Gorman family of Pork Butchers in Rathmines at the same time but who were they??? Well a trip into the National Library in Kildare Street will help as I can look through the Tom’s Directories to see what businesses in the name of O’Gorman’s were operating in Rathmines around 1910-1950. I think I should be able to catch who was where within this period. That’s the plan next week so I will update you after my visit. Clearly people ate a lot more pork in those days than they do now :-)
But then, the most extraordinary thing happened last week. Mum’s brother Pat has lived in Australia since 1955 and currently resides in Brisbane. My Uncle Pat was talking to his friend Cyril in Melbourne and Cyril was talking about his recent trip to his doctor, who was called Michael O’Gorman. My Uncle Pat was startled as he doesn’t often hear the name O’Gorman in Australia. As far as Cyril knew Dr Michael O’Gorman’s ancestors were from Dublin. Cyril put my Uncle Pat in touch with Dr Michael. It turns out that Dr Michael’s grandfather or great-grandfather had a Pork Butcher shop in Rathmines! What are the chances of that… so is Dr Michael O’Gorman’s ancestors the owners of the Pork Butcher shop opposite my great grandfather’s greengrocers shop and if so, might explain the reason why we were always told there was no family connection.
I did find on www.findmypast.ie a Michael Gorman who had a pork butcher shop in Leinster Market in Rathmines but further research required to see if it’s the right guy.
Who would have thought the answer to our little mystery may lie 17,000km away in a doctors surgery in Melbourne. I am hoping to get in touch with Dr Michael O’Gorman to help bring this family mystery to some sort of conclusion.