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Hello Potential Cousins,

Based on my DNA in Ancestry it appears that my  great great grandparents may have come from aroound Kilkee and I'd appreciate any help in confirming this.

James Sexton and Mary Griffin had at least two children that I know of:  John Sexton born around 1856 and Mary Sexton born aroiund 1862. Both children immigrated to America and died there.John died January 25,1915  In the NY City Farm Colony on Staten Island. According to his death certificate he had been in the country for 38 yars so he might have come around 1877 or so.    Mary died Mar 10, 1941 at the Little Sisters of the Poor in Manhattan, NY.  They said she had been in the USA for 47 years which would make her immigration date around 1893 or 4.

The Clare Haritage and genealogy center found the following infomation for me but no birth records for a James or  Mary that match what I know so I'm not sure if these are "my" James and Mary

"We have as requested carried out a search of our records on your behalf and uncovered the following:-


James Sexton and his wife Mary Griffin were recorded having the following children:-



BAPTISED            2nd February, 1840

SPONSORS            Denis Mack & Judy Griffin



BAPTISED            14th March, 1841

SPONSORS            Michael & Ellen Breen



BAPTISED            15th September, 1845

SPONSORS            Michael Sexton & Margaret Hall



BAPTISED            30th May, 1848

SPONSORS            Michael & Joney Griffin


The dates given above are baptismal dates, however, at that time owing to the very high level of

infant mortality children were typically baptised within a few days of birth.  The Sexton children

were baptised in what was then know as the ecclesiastical Parish of Kilkee which at that time comprised

the old civil Parishes of Kilfearagh and Killard.  At their births/baptisms the priest gave the families address

as Ballard (Baltard), which is a townland of just over 965 acres sited in the old civil Parish of Killard.


Thank you for any help or direction you can give me.


Kathleen Sexton Hall



Monday 17th Aug 2020, 04:35PM

Message Board Replies

  • Hi Kathleen:


    Thank you for your query.  I'm passing this query to one of our West Clare volunteers who will be able to assist you.  You should expect a reply in the next week or so.

    Many thanks for your interest in Ireland Reaching Out.  Please consider creating an Ancestor Profile for your great-great grandparents or any member of your family on our XOChronicles feature which is located at the top of this page. 


    All the best,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Wednesday 19th Aug 2020, 11:35AM
  • Hi Kathleen

    I have been trying to make sense of the Sextons of Ballard townland in Killard parish (referred to locally as Baltard) for some time now.

    I eventually found your pedigree chart at…
    but I cannot definitively link you to any of the other people that I know who have Sexton ancestors from Baltard.

    In the extracts from the Tithe Applotment Book for the civil parish of Killard dated 13 Apr 1826 at…
    there were two Sexton occupiers listed in Ballard, John and James.

    The latter may be the James who married Mary/Maria Griffin/Griffith in Kilkee parish on 11 Feb 1839 and had the four children listed in your message above who were baptised in Kilkee parish.

    In Griffith's Valuation in 1855, there was no James Sexton west of Kilrush, and the only Sexton (or Griffin) in Ballard was Michael Sexton, with three holdings:
    - no. 28b, a house and office with rateable annual valuation of 15 shillings on a garden of 1r 20p in James Meskil's holding;
    - no. 29 2a 3r 21p shared unequally with James Meskil; and
    - no. 27 12a 3r 21p held on his own.
    The house was at,491592,665076,11,9
    but by the time I visited the site of the house in 2018 there was nothing there bar wild pheasants and black bales of silage, and now the website with the map has evaporated out of the mythical "cloud" and we are left to take the co-ordinates from the URL and try to re-find the location manually on other websites.

    The puzzle is what had become of James and Mary and their children between Michael's birth in 1848 and Griffith's Valuation in 1855?  Had they been displaced by the Great Famine?  Is John's age at death understated and his absence from the surviving baptismal records explained by their poor condition?  Or is John's age at death estimated reliably, so that he was born elsewhere after the family left Baltard?

    Likewise, is the Mary baptised in 1845 the same Mary who died in 1941, again with her age at death understated?  Or was she named after an older sister who died in infancy?  Or were there two parallel families with the same parents' names and almost no remaining trace of the younger family?

    Were the parents dead by 1855, with the surviving children being looked after by relatives?

    A Catherine Sexton of Baltard, dau. of James, married in 1867:…

    Her estimated age at marriage makes her just about young enough to be a daughter of James Sexton and Mary Griffin, but her estimated age at death makes her much too old:…

    Catherine's father could be a different James, or he could have been married twice.

    You mentioned "DNA in Ancestry" as if you are in only one of the online DNA comparison websites.  I strongly recommend that you copy your AncestryDNA results to the other websites, which is free of charge; see

    Check whether you match these AncestryDNA profiles, both with a Sexton ancestor said to have been from Baltard:……

    Also let us know your kit number and see whether you match these Sexton descendants there: A587771, A215548 and T687786.

    These DNA subjects are unlikely to be any more closely related to you than fourth cousins, and at that remove it is probably more likely that you don't share autosomal DNA than that you do.

    I suspect that the Simon O'Donnell who was boarding with Mary Sexton and her nephews in Hoboken in 1900 at…

    is the Simon O'Donnell from Baunmore in Kilfearagh parish who returned to Ireland and remarried to Elizabeth Anne Bradley in 1908:…

    Simon's first marriage has always been a bit of a mystery.  He and Delia Kitson had a son John born in Baunmore on 9 Jul 1892.  He must be the Simon O'Donnell aged 30 from Kilkee who landed at Ellis Island aboard the Lucania having left Queenstown on 17 Oct 1897 going to Jersey City and to his cousin Michl. Halloran.  The manifest was on another website which has evaporated out of the cloud:\\\images\t715-0008\t715-00080573.tif&S=1
    Simon was returned as single in the 1900 census, but described as a widower when he married again in 1908.

    Whether Simon was related to the Sextons or just a paying boarder is another puzzle.


    Paddy Waldron, IrelandXO Volunteer

    Wednesday 19th Aug 2020, 08:58PM
  • Hi Paddy

    I'm back and will try to answer your questions in order

    I tried to find James and Mary but I didn't have enough knowledge to do a good search.

    I really need to get a good detailed map of Clare to help orient in space because the geography and the similar place names have confused me.

    I found some Griffins in Kilkee iand ten James Sextons in various towns in Griffiths but I have no sense of the relationship of Kilkee to Kinlea or Kilrush or any of the other towns listed.

    I've searched all the death records for James Sexton and Mary Griffin from 1864 to 1912 for Killadysert, Ennistimon, and Kilrush so I've run into Michael Sexton quite a bit. I am not sure how to find out which of these if any are “mine” but I'm going to look at them in more detail probably next week and at least eliminate the ones who are too young or old or unmarried.

    My guesses for John and his sister Mary Sexton's ages are based on the information I found in US census' and their death certificates from the states. Since both died in poor houses I am not sure how accurate they are.

    I found the two Mary's confusing as well but the age difference between the Mary who was baptised in 1845 and “my” Mary who claimed in the 1900 censuse that she was born August 1863 seems too great so I assumed 1845 Mary died young.

    John is a complete mystery except for his various ages given in census documents and his death record.


    I know Sexton and Griffin are fairly common surnames but I wonder if there could be two families with the same first and last names but only one showing up in records. I'm just not sure how likely it is.


    Your Catherine Sexton mention confuses me. Are you saying Catherine Sexton of Baltard dau of James who marries in 1867 is not the same as the Catherine Sexton who dies in 1906? Also I clicked through and didn't see a Catherine Sexton on the page . Maybe I went to the wrong one. It had a date of 6th july 1906 on the bottom


    I've taken several DNA tests. In addition to Ancestry I tested on 23 & me and Living DNA and did a mtDNA test with Family Tree (not that that will help me with the Sextons) I'm not familiar with Ancestral Quest so I'll check that one out today


    I joined MyHeritage for a year but it didn't yield any Sexton info


    I also joined the Sexton project and facebook page for Sexton's in Clare that I found on GedMatch. I'm hoping that will eventually prove helpful.


    I clicked through for both the ancestry DNA profiles you posted. Ancestry says neither is “either not a DNA match or ha not taken a DNA test”


    I have two gedmatch kit number

    one from before they switched to genesis and one after

    the before one is A478608 and the Genesis kit is UK2031386


    I compared my kit A478608 to A587771, A215548 and T687786


    Results are: A587771 no shared DNA segments found, A215548 No shared DNA segments found

    For T687786 Largest segment = 7.9 cM

    Total Half-Match segments (HIR) = 7.9 cM (0.221 Pct)
    Estimated number of generations to MRCA = 7.4

    1 shared segments found for this comparison.

    Promising but, as you said, probably too far back in time


    The Simon O'Donnell info is fascinating. Even if he isn't a relative I appreciate learning about him.


    I think that answered all your questions but if I missed something or should provide some other info that might be helpful, please let me know.


    Once I solve the Sexton family Ireland connection I plan on researching my Clooney relatives. Not sure where to begin with them just yet though

    My hope is one day to return to Ireland and visit the towns of all six of my Irish great grandparents

    I have found where my mother's Irish forebears came from but I benefitted from a lot more family history for them.


    Love this website and I hope to use it someday when I next visit Ireland


    Kathy Sexton Hall






    Thursday 20th Aug 2020, 08:15PM
  • Hi Kathy

    The map website that I have been using since the wonderful evaporated is

    Towns and townlands are very different things.  I have written about the distinctions at

    Deaths of married women are always registered under their married surnames, never under their maiden surnames.

    I suspect that you will find yourself ruling out all post-1864 deaths and concluding that the people you are looking for died before civil registration of deaths began on 1 Jan 1864.

    It was not only in poor houses that estimated ages were often very wrong, often out by as much as 20 years.

    Ancestral Quest is the genealogy software that I use on my own computer, and has nothing to do with DNA, other than generating the GEDCOM files which must be uploaded to all the DNA websites.

    You should use the Tier 1 "Combine multiple kits into 1 superkit NEW!" tool to merge you DNA data from all the labs into a single GEDmatch kit.

    Your DNA data remains in the DNA comparison websites (including MyHeritage) in perpetuity (unless you actively delete it), even if you don't keep paying subscriptions for access to all the analysis tools.

    I see that your closest match at GEDmatch outside your immediate family is my second cousin twice removed, managed by myself.  I will look into this when I have good broadband access.  Since Storm Ellen the night before last, my connection has varied between completely dead and slower than dial-up!


    Paddy Waldron, IrelandXO Volunteer

    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 08:48AM
  • Hi Kathy:#

    I'm delighted to see that Paddy is assisting you and hopefully you will make some progress with the families.

    I note that you mentioned Clooney families.  If it is Clooney parish that you are referring to (as in Clooney/Quin), please let me know as I can assist you.

    Stay safe and well.

    All the best,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 10:18AM
  • Hi Kathy:#

    I'm delighted to see that Paddy is assisting you and hopefully you will make some progress with the families.

    I note that you mentioned Clooney families.  If it is Clooney parish that you are referring to (as in Clooney/Quin), please let me know as I can assist you.

    Stay safe and well.

    All the best,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 10:18AM
  • Hi Kathy:#

    I'm delighted to see that Paddy is assisting you and hopefully you will make some progress with the families.

    I note that you mentioned Clooney families.  If it is Clooney parish that you are referring to (as in Clooney/Quin), please let me know as I can assist you.

    Stay safe and well.

    All the best,


    Jane Halloran Ryan

    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 10:18AM
  • Hi Jane

    The Clooney I'm researching is a Michael Clooney who is my great grandfather born around May 1850 who died in Hoboken NY 17 Sept 1909 . The census and his naturalization papers just say he was born in Ireland and his father was also Michael Clooney who married a woman named Ellen .  Sadly I don't know her maiden name.

    Michael married Mary C O'Rourke in Manhattan NY 21 Feb  1871.  She is listed on the US censuses as being born about 1849 in Ireland. I believe her fathr was John o'Rourke who may have been born about 1827 in Alderney, Guensey, Channel Irelands . If that is him he died 02 Dec 1872 in Trevorton, PA.  I only have his wife's name as Mary who was born in Ireland about 1828.

    I know so little about them i've been putting them off.


    Kathy Sexton Hall





    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 11:35PM
  • Hi Paddy

    Thanks so much for the map link. I'm going to bookmark it. I'm sorry you are dealing with Hurricanes. We have quite a few in New Jersey over the years so I know that getting back on line takes time.  I look forward to learning anything you can tell me about your second cousin twice removed.  I'm excited to hear about a Sexton relative no matter how distant


    Kathy Sexton Hall



    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 11:39PM
  • Hi Paddy

    I wasn't clear about Mary, I did search under Mary Sexton. I just labeled the files Mary Griffin to help me keep her straight from the Mary Sexton who died in the US.  I'm pretty much as beginner in genealogy so I need a lot of help keeping facts (or theories) straight.


    Kathy Sexton Hall


    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 11:41PM
  • Hi Paddy

    I just tried clicking on the map link and got this message. Maybe it is hurricane related so I'll try another day.


    Kathy Sexton Hall

    Secure Connection Failed

    An error occurred during a connection to Peer using unsupported version of security protocol.


        The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because the authenticity of the received data could not be verified.
        Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

    Learn more…

    This website might not support the TLS 1.2 protocol, which is the minimum version supported by Firefox. Enabling TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 might allow this connection to succeed.

    TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1 will be permanently disabled in a future release.


    Friday 21st Aug 2020, 11:43PM
  • I forgot to mention that I found that crashed Firefox, so I make sure to always use it in Opera.  I wish someone would restore which was infinitely better.

    I hope that you have now found Mrs. Kate Scanlan's death record by following the link in my first reply.

    Paddy Waldron, IrelandXO Volunteer

    Saturday 22nd Aug 2020, 07:56AM
  • Hi Paddy

    Thanks for the heads up about firefox.    I also got a security error message on Chrome but it loads just fine in Opera. That helps a lot.


    I found Kate Scanlan's death. I had forgotten her married name (senior moment) so I was looking for Kate Sexton. 


    Saturday 22nd Aug 2020, 11:55PM
  • Hi Paddy

    I'm just wondering if you were able to get broad band back and check on my match with your second cousin twice removed.  I'd love to see that part of your tree to see if anything matches mine.


    Here's a clip to remind you of that part of our conversasion


    "I see that your closest match at GEDmatch outside your immediate family is my second cousin twice removed, managed by myself.  I will look into this when I have good broadband access.  Since Storm Ellen the night before last, my connection has varied between completely dead and slower than dial-up!"






    Sunday 20th Sep 2020, 12:51AM
  • Hi Kathy - I've e-mailed you with some analysis of that DNA match.

    Paddy Waldron, IrelandXO Volunteer

    Sunday 20th Sep 2020, 05:16PM
  • Hi Paddy

    Internet gremlins appear to be at work. I didn't get your email (even checked my spam filter back through Saturday.) Could you please resend to my more reliable email address which is


    Many thanks for all your help and knowledge. As a beginner in genealogy I really appreciate it.




    Monday 21st Sep 2020, 02:04PM
  • My fault! Message now resent.

    Paddy Waldron, IrelandXO Volunteer

    Tuesday 22nd Sep 2020, 10:12AM
  • Message received. Many thanks


    Wednesday 23rd Sep 2020, 03:58PM

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