My great-great-grandfather was Patrick Mulvaney, whose parents were James Mulvany and Bridget Rothwell. Patrick was born in Brooklyn, NY, but his parents were, by all indications, from Kells, Co. Meath, Ireland. Now, while James and Bridget (Rothwell) Mulvaney from Kells were raising their family in Brooklyn, there were several other Mulvaneys in Brooklyn. Deputy Sheriff Mulvaney doesn't seem to have been a relation, though goodness knows I wish he was, what with all the newspaper appearances he made in the course of doing his job. Luke and Edward Mulvaney seem to have been rather more well-to-do than my Mulvaneys, and they don't appear to have ever interacted. But John and Ann Mulvany - they must have been relations of some sort.
The two Mulvany families live in the same neighborhood. Heck, in 1860, they live in the same building! James and Bridget Mulvany and their children are living in the same building as John and Ann Mulvany and their children. They never show up together on the census again, but members of each family end up buried in the same grave when John, James, and Bridget all die in the 1880s. They're joined in that grave by James's brother Mathew and a John Rothwell who must have been related to Bridget, right? There is every indication that these families are related through James and John Mulvany. They could be brothers, maybe cousins, but I've been working under the assumption that the two men are related somehow. And then . . .
I've spent all this time assuming that the two Mulvaney families are related paternally, because their fathers share the same last name. I still think they're related - circumstantial evidence points to it, perhaps even more strongly now - but now there's every possibility that they're related maternally instead of - or in addition to - paternally, because their mothers also share the same last name.
Stay tuned to find out where these two Rothwell-Mulvany families take me!
Part II is here.