Thursday, March 17, 2016

Irish McMillin's from Northern Ireland

I grew up being told that our line of McMillin's came from Ireland, but no one mentioned where in Ireland.  So I started searching high and low, but I kept running into twists and turns that became a confusing mix of spellings of the McMillin name.  There are a lot, and I've mentioned that in earlier posts.

To compound the issue, there are MacMillan's in Scotland as well.  That made things even more difficult.  And the results strongly suggest that we are both Scotch and Irish, and we go back a very long way.

But where exactly did my immediate family tree start from?

The other night I started searching again and happened on a site that probably pinpointed the area of Ireland most of us can trace back to, at least to the mid 19th century.  But it's not where I thought it would be.

It's in Northern Ireland.

More specifically, in counties near Belfast: County Down and County Antrim and a couple of others.

The specific villages I don't recall now but I will look them up again and update them here.

Here's the chart of counties surrounding Belfast.

While I was at it, I went to Google Earth and employed their Street View so that I could electronically tour the area.  I was actually seeing the roads and buildings and hills and fields that my forefathers saw every day.  It felt both odd and wonderful at the same time.  I wished Google could take me back a couple of centuries so that I might actually see some of my family.

Perhaps some of my relatives attended this church and are buried its cemetery.  We will never know for sure until we search and find out for ourselves.

Alas, whatever new technology they come up with next probably won't be going back in time.  But as I traveled down the streets I could tell that many of the buildings were ancient.  They could have well housed my ancestors.  Maybe they still do.

If I ever make it to Ireland, now I have specific places to go.

And wouldn't you know it, the very moment I thought I had finished this post an article suddenly showed up on my home screen challenging the history of the Irish.  Here's the link to the story:

And no sooner than I'm three paragraphs into the article, I learn that it began with the finding of a grave in County Antrim, Northern Ireland,  one of the counties where my McMillin ancestors lived.

That could change everything about where my ancestors actually originated.  This St. Patrick's Day sure has been full of surprises.

Also see:


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Joseph Snyder Call

I had an interesting call from Joseph Snyder: sevenohseven-sixtwofour-nineeightsevensix. He is my cousin Ja'Nell's son and called because he wanted to clarify some information about the old Sargent family photos Ja'Nell recently sent to me, and to ask some questions regarding my genealogy search efforts into the Sargent family. It turned into a very informative conversation involving a great many ancestors, many of whom each of us knew nothing about. He shared detailed information as to important dates, marriages, activities and subsequent arrival in the Catahoula Parish Louisiana area. It was enlightening to say the least. I believe the information I provided him was also useful. He promised to email and mail additional information that I might find interesting. I'm sure it will help to fill in the many blank places in an increasingly complex timeline of a prolific family that heavily involved themselves in the creation of the early United States of America dating back to the American Revolution. Most likely, I will have to revise the names and dates of some of the photos in my previous post. But having correct information is extremely important when tracing the history of one's family. Needless to say, I will be eagerly looking forward to any information he shares with me.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

My Mother's Side of the Family - The Sargent's

Most of my Mother's immediate family (Sargent) is dead or unknown, so there was little to go on when I searched for information.  All I knew was that my Mother, Dorothy Jane Sargent, was raised by her Father, Edward Joseph Sargent, and aunt, Fannie "Nannee" Sargent, in Harrisonburg, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana, after her mother died shortly after childbirth.  She married Leroy Lamar McMillin and continued to live in Harrisonburg until their deaths.

Except for a brother, Edward Joseph Sargent, Jr., Feb 13, 1916 to Feb 14, 1937, there was only her older sister, Nellie Irene who married Charles Patrick O'Boyle before WWII and moved to California.  They had three children, Ja'Nell, Patrick and Michael.  They briefly returned to Harrisonburg to live during the 1950's then returned to California near Oakland.

After Aunt Nell's husband died, she returned to Harrisonburg and married John Taliaferro and they lived in the area until John died.  Aunt Nell returned to California where she eventually died.

There was also Aunt Mamie "Tot" Sargent, Fannie's sister, who married Smith Oden from Bastrop, Louisiana.  They came to visit each Christmas, along with their youngest son George "Bitty" Oden.  They had another son, Bobby, and daughter, Nelwyn, who moved to Buffalo, NY.  Last I heard, George was living somewhere in the Florida Panhandle area.

I recall a few other Sargent names from my childhood but we apparently did not maintain close ties with them. 

I recall seeing a few very old photos in Nannee's old pre-Civil War house but they meant nothing to me at the time.  I assumed all were lost until First Cousin - JaNell sent these photos to me recently.  I do not know the dates of the photos but I've tried to guess as close as possible.

My Great-Great Grandparents, Joseph Sargent and Janet Campbell Sargent, parents of Thomas Edward Sargent, probably between 1840 and 1855

Mary Elizabeth Dish Sargent probably Apr 22, 1831 Mar 4, 1924
My Great Grandmother
Photo probably between 1875 and 1895

Thomas Edward Sargent Jun 18, 1852 Nov 15, 1901
My Great Grandfather
Photo probably between 1875 and  1895

Edward Joseph "Eddie" Sargent Jan 8, 1888 Feb 8, 1931
My Grandfather
Photo probably taken about 1928 to 1930

Edward Joseph "Eddie" Sargent as a young man
Nellie Irene Huff Sargent Mar 14, 1890 Nov 4, 1921
My Grandmother
Photo probably between 1915 and 1920

This is Nellie Irene Huff when she was apparently younger.

Nellie Irene Sargent O'Boyle
My Mother's Sister
Photo probably taken in the 1940's.

Dorothy Jane Sargent McMillin October 14, 1921 and August 6, 2007
My Mother
Photo taken in 2000

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Iberian Peninsula

A friend suggested I look up "celtiberian " in my quest for knowledge about my early ancestors. I did and learned that it means "celt-iberian" (as in Iberian Peninsula of Europe - now Spain). The people living there, the Celts and the Iberians, co-mingled and apparently migrated to Ireland over two millennium ago. My DNA group (R2B2) closely matches a small group of these people from what is now the area near Albacete, Spain.

I shared my information with my new-found 'cousin' in Canada, Lyn McMullen, and he wrote back:

"I have read that article, and here is a better map outlining populations that inhabited the Iberian peninsula circa 200 BC. It is more specific in terms of listing ethnic population groups that occupied territory at that time. It is this map which forms part of the evidence I have reviewed concerning the Germanos (Germano-Celts), the group I believe our family genetically descend from. They are shown as located in the Celtic language speaking area just above another group called Oretanus. Recorded history around these Germano-Celt Suebi, clarify that a larger group (mercenaries) were invited into this area later (circa 100BC), then subsequently driven out circa 57 BC by Roman Legion’s. This I believe may have been the migration point for elements of that ethnic population to Ireland."

The circle near the center is the area around Albatete.
So now I'm beginning to get a picture of where my family can trace it's earliest roots. We are descendants of Germano-Celts.
This is great information that would have taken me years, if ever, to find. Thanks to Lyn I have been able to place us in Ireland, Scotland and now Spain over a 2,000 year period. How cool is that!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Scottish Gathering in Salado, Texas

Another adventure...

Judy and I went to our first Scottish Gathering & Highland Games event over the weekend. It was in Salado, Texas, just south of Waco.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and took some time to get to know Salado. It didn't take long because it's a small town. We drove through the park and it was so nice that we walked along Salado Creek, a beautiful clear spring-fed creek that flows through town and the park. A fellow Big Green Egger who lives in Salado suggested we take a look at the park as a possible Eggfest site in the future. He was right... it would be a great place for an Eggfest.

But our mission in Salado was to represent our Clan MacMillan Society of Texas group, so we went to the Gathering site to see where our tent would be placed and get a lay of the land. We were surprised at how large an area the Gathering would occupy.

Saturday morning we found the tent already set up and organized. Mark McMillan and his wife Judy were waiting with plenty of information for those interesting in the MacMillan family. But after a couple of hours we could tell that it was going to be a slow day.

Judy, Gary McMillan and Mark McMillan

Judy McMillin and Judy McMillan

Mark McMillan and Jane McMillin

Gary McMillan was across the street as a participant in the Highland Games. He was there all day and we didn't learn until Sunday that he came in 3rd in one event. I think I would have enjoyed participating regardless of the end results. Sounds like fun.

Things got a bit exciting though around noon. The wind kept gaining in speed all morning and was now strong enough to destroy our tent. Suddenly, we found ourselves sitting in the open. As people strolled by they would ask where our tent was and we would reply with "We're a poor clan and can't afford a tent" or "Our tent was repossessed" or "Some scoundrel absconded with it while we were visiting the Porta-Let" etc. They figured it out pretty quickly though when they spotted the pile of crumpled canvas and metal.

Just a few of the 100+ tents

The crowd continue to grow and before long there were hundreds of people making their way around the field. Many of them were in traditional Scottish dress proudly wearing their clan tartans. Only two from our little group dressed for the occasion, Mark McMillan and David McMullen.

Mark McMillan

David McMullen

Even so, as small a group as we were, we marched in the parade of tartans which also included a number of pipe and drum corps. We all ended up on the parade grounds where one lonely bagpipe began playing Amazing Grace. It sounded great, but at the end of the first stanza the rest of the pipes and drums kicked in and it sounded absolutely wonderful.

All of the Pipe & Drum Corps on the field

Pipes 'a playing and Drums 'a thumping

The Clan MacMillan contigent in the March of Tartans

Pipe & Drum Major

Judy and I had already made plans to attend the Ceilida (pronounced Kay-Lee) so we left the tent to others to man.

We met at the ruins of ancient Salado College where the Ceilida took place. We learned that since people in the old days had to create their own entertainment they would gather for a Ceilida and each person would entertain the group by whatever means they could. Whether it be playing a musical instrument, or singing a song, dancing a jig, or telling a story, or reading a poem, everyone contributed to the entertainment of the others. Pretty neat concept when you think about it.

Crumbling fireplace at Salado College

Old wall and a really nice backdrop to performances

The setting was perfect for such an event. Very laid back and informal. It was great.

By the end of the Ceilida we were ready for dinner and decided on The Stagecoach Inn. We knew it had some history behind it but we didn't realize how much until we sat at our table. The Inn began serving customers in 1861. According to the information we read almost anyone who figured prominently in Texas history either dined there, slept there or hid out there. Yes, even some outlaws spent some time there.

Judy on the porch at Stagecoach Inn

We were tired and were asleep at our hotel by 8:00 PM.

Sunday we were up early to help man our little spot of grass among all the tents, but much to our surprise Gary McMillan drove up with a new tent. The store was good enough to replace the destroyed one. This one worked well, especially after some reinforcing.

We had a few MacMillan's (various spellings) drop by throughout the day. It was fun talking to them. After all, they are "cousins." We also showed them our growing collection of charts, maps and data reflecting the MacMillan history.

According to Mark, there is some information that a MacMillan was a member of the Knights Templar. We had a knight's helmet for those who wished to try it on. I did and it's not very comfortable at all.

We hung around until just after noon and left to return to Houston. I can't see well at night so we didn't want to take a chance that it would get dark on us while driving home.

All in all, we had a good time, listened to some great pipe and drum bands and met a lot of very nice people.

Yes, it was another great adventure.

Friday, November 2, 2007

DNA Match Followup

This is a followup to my previous publication - DNA Match... Lyn writes:

What I believe to be true based on all of that is this:
McMullen`s Maolan, Mac Maolain, are the genetic ancestors of the Germano-Celt tribe Seubi, traditionally Switzerland, Rhine valley Germany and Northern Italy, They were mercenaries hired by the Gallician Portugese circa 100 BC, driven out by roman legions circa 52 BC, some migrated from Gallicia along with Laigin and Milesian tribes to Ireland. They surface as the Gaileanga, mercenaries who become part of the Ui Briuin Ai, Connachta Sil Muiredach and lagered with the tribal federation of Ui Maine. Maolan was a descendant of Clan Leochain. Chief of Clan Leachain was O’Darchaide (anglized Darcy), and of the same stock are the Diarmada, O’Faolan, O’ Cannons and O`Mullen’s of Ballymoe Co. Galway. They Mullen’s are nobles with an independent title of Lord of Gaileanga and Luighne, and over a period starting about 900 AD to 1100, begin to evolve as devotees of St John (Maol ain). They lived in parishes adjacent the O’Cannon and O’Faolan with names like Dunmore, Killian and Kilbegnet. In 1000 AD Brian Boru high king of Ireland introduces surnames, so that the son of Maolain, became Mac Maolain. This history which I am currently writing (at about 60 pages right now) is plastered throughout numerous Irish annals, those of the history of Ireland in maps, those of Ui Briuin, those of Clonmacnoise, those of Breifne, etc. During the period the nobles were moving toward the church, they lost leadership of the mercenary Gaileanga and quite possibly some of the sons of Mac Maolain who were not that religious. Those sons appear to have hired on as professional soldiers in a group created by the Dal gCais O’Brain (Boru) circa 1100. They would end up in Coleraine and North Antrim with the name O’Cathain (Cain/Keane/Kane). My beliefs in this regard come from as I have mentioned the fact that my last match MacMillan Clan is circa 1197, and any other MacMillan after that is 3000 years away. In between though I connect on genetic matching, not only to you, but to many Irish and Cain at approximately the same time frame 800 AD. I believe MacMillan Gp1 are the descendants of our Irish Mac Maolains, and also that in North Ireland are the remnants of the earlier Gaileanga who later became part of Mac Lachlan and the Ui Neill in Coleraine and Armoy. Who else is hallucinating in this fashion ? The current recognized chief of the Clan O’Cathain, who states on their DNA site that testing is rewriting their oral history which was exclusively tied to the Northern Ui Neill. His own DNA takes him to Clare and Galway and a run on Cain in general will land you predominantly in Galway. This genetic bent for church and military continues as you can see in the MacMillan line and I was a professional soldier myself. For example Leroy, I imagine that if you were to log onto Ysearch and do the GD calculation for your markers against surnames MacMillan/McMillan, you will find that Cain’s test closer to you than any MacMillan as may other Irish names. The Irish/Scot Clan MacDonald who we are wrapped together during our time in the Highlands also proudly claim Ireland as their origins and list Cain as an associated sept circa 1200. That probably happened because the MacDonnell and MacGregor Gaels came into Ireland circa 1250 as mercenaries to help Irish fighting Normans (lost unfortunately) and would have linked up with the Coleraine based O’Cathain.

Interesting Huh!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

DNA Match

I received a most interesting email today as a direct result of my DNA data being posted for all to see. The email came from Lyn David McMullen, and it certainly got my attention:

Name: Lyn David McMullen
Email: ////////////// (deliberately omitted)
Message: Hi Leroy. Thought I would contact you, as I have been working many months on DNA trying to reconcile the oral history of my family passed to me as Irish circa 1050-1100 to Scotland, then back to Ireland. Most of the Scotland links are now discovered, which is the MacMillan Clanand for me Gp1. Using the matching information and many identical markers, and the distance provided by David, you come in as about 1260 years from me which would be approximately 800 AD. According to my family history we were in Ireland then as Maolain of Connacht (Ballymoe area). So I am interested of course as to where your family came from in Ireland and also whether it was DNA that lead you to the MacMillan site, or information in the family that you connect somehow in Scotland. Looking forward to hearing from you.

View this user's profile at (Deliberately Omitted)

He requested that I contact him. I did, giving him some basic info about myself and what I've discovered so far. I also mentioned my blog site. He quickly wrote back and said:

"Hello Leroy. Thank you for contacting me. Leroy I love your site, it has the creativity of the McMullen`s (hope you won’t be offended). We share many things, including the Catholic faith. I am also busy dissecting the MacMillan site and DNA analysis. Like you I happened onto this site thru DNA. My grandfather and the oral history passed to him starts us off in Ireland well before that. Right now my research places us in Ireland for at least a thousand years, mostly in Galway, the Barony of Ballymoe and the parishes of Dunmore, Killean and Kilbegnet, well before migrating to Scotland in 1100 AD as clerics of the Celtic Catholic Church. By connecting our family historical birthdates back to the lineage posted on the MacMillan site, it appears we came back in 1617 to North Antrim. It is an exciting project, and while we as a family evolve more recently from the front end of the Scottish MacMillan`s Gp1 who list their progenitor as one Gilichrist Mac Maolain circa 1100 AD born Ireland (or Scotland 2nd choice), my gut feel is that your ancestors based on this time line of 1260 years, may be the link to the Irish back end and direct descendants of the Ui Maine lagered O`Maolain (Mullen) Lord of Gaileanga and Luighne. This history is recorded in numerous annals for over four hundred years well before Clan MacMillan came into being and is peppered with parishes, plus both individual (Cormac, Gillachrist, Maolmuire) and surnames that form part of the later Clan MacMillan in Scotland. Your markers have three distinctive elements that are part of all the families from the MacMillan GP1 site who on further investigation connect directly to me (25/14/10) and (29/18/9) and (15/15/16/17). It is the distance that is different. The last McMillan checks in at 810 years which is 1197, after that I jump to a GD of 18 which would take me right back to Iberia with the McMillans. In genetic matching anyone who is closer and you are, has their origins listed as Irish. That fits with my Granddaddy and he was an honest man. When I first logged onto the MacMillan DNA site, I was immediately contacted by a Daniel McMullan, who said his oral history was very like mine. He is a perfect match, but only tested to 12 markers. I am waiting for this DNA haplotype thing to evolve a bit, when I think that it will be much easier to identify relations farther back by using SNP vs STR etc. God Bless Leroy, and here is what I have written so far about the Scotland to Ireland migration. (still working on the chart) Cheers Lyn

He's in the R1B1c Haplogroup

I think this is fantastic news and even though I don't know exactly what all it means I'm eagerly looking forward to finding out.