No picture of her, tintype or otherwise, has been discovered. Was she an itsy-bitsy Betsy or a strong, big-boned farmer's wife? Was she brusque and self-absorbed or gentle and kind? In their later years, after they sold their farm to their son, why was she living in Concord, New Hampshire when her husband was living in Manchester? Did she leave her husband, or did he leave her? So many unanswered questions...
Betsy's children: Lizzy Spead c. 1870, James E. Fitzgerald c. 1880.
Perhaps her visage is reflected in the faces of her children. She bore ten of them, five in Ireland during the Great Hunger and five in Andover, New Hampshire in the decade before the Civil War. Even though I never met Betsy, and despite the fact that we never co-existed on this planet, Betsy bequeathed to me bits and pieces of herself that can be measured and described in my DNA. How those bits and pieces have shaped me, I shall never know, but their presence is indisputable.
Those centimorgans of DNA from Betsy have disclosed that she and her cousin Michael Graney, who owned a neighboring farm in New Hampshire, were not the only members of the Graney family who left the Dingle Peninsula or thereabouts for a refuge in America.
About 1847, when he was a young man in his twenties, cousin Jerry, officially known as Jeremiah Greaney, left Ireland. Jerry settled in Northfield, Vermont, where he and his wife, Margaret Duggan, raised their seven children.
Betsy left Ireland in 1850 or 1851 and joined her husband, James Fitzgerald, in New Hampshire. In the same time period, two men by the name of John Graney immigrated to Upstate New York. One was a few years older than Betsy, and the other was a few years younger than Betsy. One was perhaps her older brother or her uncle. His son Martin settled in Geneva, New York. The other was perhaps her younger brother or nephew. He lived in Aurelius, New York, eventually moving to Auburn, New York.
Rather than being a brother, uncle, or nephew, the older John, the younger John, or both Johns could be Betsy's cousins. To date, I have insufficient data on which to make a strong hypothesis. All I know is that I share about 30 cMs of DNA with a great-great-grandchild of the older John and about 27cMs of DNA with each of two great-great-grandchildren of the younger John. Now you know what I know.
© 2020, Cathy H Paris