Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Senator Patrick Leahy Holds the Key to a 40 Year Old Family Mystery

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy, the very liberal Senator from Vermont, holds the key to a family mystery I've been trying to solve for 40 years. This circumstance no doubt provides a delightful irony to regular readers of this blog, who by now know that my political views are almost the polar opposite of Senator Leahy's. Politics not only makes strange bedfellows, it apparently also makes interesting family relations !

The surprising twist to the story which I have confirmed to my own satisfaction with 100 per cent certainty is this: Senator Leahy and I are cousins. Half third cousins to be exact.

We both take our surname from our common great-great grandfather, Andrew Leahy, born in Ireland in 1809, died in Hemmingford, Quebec in 1882.

The mystery, which I've been trying to solve for 40 years, with no success to date, is this -- where did Andrew Leahy come from in Ireland, and do I have relatives there still ?

I learned only today indirectly from another newly discovered half third cousin that Senator Leahy knows where Andrew Leahy came from, and has also met our common relatives in Ireland in the county of Andrew's birth. All that's left now is to find a way to confirm this story with the Senator and find out the location and relatives in Ireland.

My dad's going to take on that task, and I'll report back how successful he is with that venture. I'm dying to find out the answer to this persistent mystery but find myself in the amusing position of being beholding to the good graces of a distant relative whose accomplishments I can admire, but whose political positions I find..... less than agreeable !

I wonder if I'm now obliged to defend the honor of my half third cousin when I meet Vice President Cheney at the Republican National Convention in September !

The lineage, for those of you who may find this kind of thing of interest, is as follows:

(1) Andrew Leahy (1809-1882) and his first wife, Anastasi Ryan (died circa 1842) had two sons. The second son, (2) Andrew (1842-1911) married Margaret Heffernan (1845-1911) in Montreal in 1868, and moved shortly thereafter to Mineville, New York.

Their son (3) Patrick J. Leahy (1871-1911) moved as a young man to Barre, Vermont, where he became a stone cutter, and in 1899 married Joanna last name unknown. Patrick contracted silicosis and died just prior to his fortieth birthday.

Patrick J and Joanna had one son, (4) Howard Francis (1900-1984), who married Alba Zambon. These were the parents of (5) Senator Patrick Leahy.

My descendancy from Andrew Leahy is as follows:

(1) Andrew Leahy and his second wife, Honora Devine (1829-1862) had a son, (2) Patrick Leahy (1851-1924). Patrick married Joanna McBride, and they had a son (3) Thomas Leahy (1893-1970). Thomas Leahy married Helen Dowd (1903-1970), and their son, (4) Raymond Leahy (born 1929) is my father.

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