mad in pursuit notebook


Who Was Thomas Dunne?

When my great aunt Ellen "Auntie" Dunne [Price] and her uncle Michael Martin left Galway for St. Louis, the ship's record said that "cousin" Thomas Dunne (2206 S. 12th St) was their sponsor. Who was Thomas Dunne? How does he connect?

My Aunt Mary Ellen found a prayer card for him -- that he died on April 18, 1944. That's all she knew.

I had looked for him before in the Ancestry archives, but Thomas Dunne is too common a name to yield a clear connection. But this week I hit paydirt. Someone had posted a family tree on ancestry with a complete history for Thomas Dunne, including the same death date and birth in Rushestown, Galway, where my great-grandmother Catherine Martin Dunne was born. His family tree was full of familiar names, but I couldn't find the precise connection. So I became obsessed.

I wrote the tree owner, who turned out to be a distant relative from a branch of the family who moved to Ohio around the time of the Great Hunger. She told me she had Thomas Dunne's death certificate and that "Mrs. Walter Price" was the informant -- my grandmother. The connection deepened.

What really drove me crazy was that his grandmother's name was Bridget Ward. My grandmother's grandmother was Bridget Ward too. But his Bridget Ward married a Michael Dunne (my great-grandfather's name) and "our" Bridget Ward married John Martin. My head started spinning.

It often pays off to put pencil to paper and to lay out the family members on timelines... This way I could tell that both Bridget Ward #1 and Michael Dunne #1 were a generation older than my g-g-gmo Bridget Ward.

To make a long story short, the diagram below summarizes my findings and my hypothesis that my g-g-grandmother Bridget Ward Martin was the niece of Bridget Ward Dunne. I haven't found the missing link yet, but I'll stick with this till I get more info.

Thos Dunne Connection

So, if I'm proven correct, St. Louis immigrants Thomas Dunne and Michael Martin were second cousins. There's no evidence that Thomas and Delia Dunne had children. She died a couple years before he did. He worked as a plumber till he had a heart attack and died at age 72.

Apr 7, 2012