Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Is that you, Dennis?

This man may, or may not, be my paternal grandfather, the mystery man I have been chasing around for what seems like forever but, in truth, is a just a sporadic exercise in frustration over the last couple of decades.

I have told the story here before (I think) about the search for Dennis Curtin. At one point, I was out to write a magazine story to be titled "The Lost Fortune of Dennis Curtin," having to do with a family legend (recorded in its basics in the West Chester Daily News many decades ago so there much truth in it) about lawyers in Paris seeking him out because of an "inheritance." He apparently told them to go pound sand when they wanted a fee for their services.

Working with the Curtin Clan Ancestry Centre and Margaret Curtain, an Australian who married into the family and is considered its master historian, I have finally pinned down a likely arrival date for Dennis on these shores (I have three documents he signed, including his citizenship application and marriage certificate, on which he gave three different dates for his arrival and age), but there seems no way to trace him back to Ireland accurately because family data, such as his having three brother  does not match with anything anyone has yet been able to find.

A DNA test I took last year seems to show that the line of Curtins from which I have descended were likely from County Clare, which is the primary home of the line, but the connections are so distant in time that is not definite. Interestingly, that test similarly linked me to Margaret Curtain's husband.

All of which means nothing to you folks. It just felt like I should put Dennis (or Denis) or Not-Dennis (or Not-Denis) out there since I may, or may not, have found him. It probably has something to do with ancestral longing and all that.

1 comment:

  1. Well, FWIW, I think that he does bear some resemblance to you facially. I could believe this was your grandfather. I can certainly understand your searching too. I've been trying to piece together parts of my folks lives, especially mom's and there are huge gaps that I suppose will never be filled, sad to say. Good luck on this though Jack. Not only is it interesting but will provide info for your descendants as well.

    Seriously, quite interesting and that DNA thing sounds kinda cool too.