Life in a small town, Pen as Sword - Social Commentary

BREXIT, Irexit, Bavarexit, anyone??


The Counties Of Ireland

I wonder how you say BREXIT in Old Irish?  Bear with me and my little story today. There is a point I assure you. I and my lovely wife of 40 years have had an avid passion for genealogy and we have done considerable genealogical research (20 years of searching off and on). On my father’s side my family line has been traced as far back as one Caspar in or around Kleinheubach in early 17th century Bavaria,

My mother’s side goes back to one Michael Devanney, or perhaps Devaney, a ships carpenter of County Sligo, Ireland in the early 19th century, and to one Claude Pettipas  in the the late 17th century, schooner captain, interpreter, known particularly for his collaboration with the English, third child of a family of 15, son of Claude Petitpas, Sieur de Lafleur, clerk of the court at Port-Royal (Annapolis Royal, N.S.), and of Catherine Bugaret; b. c. 1663 at Port-Royal, d. some time between 1731 and 1733. I won’t tire you with a lot of details on all the rest which fills several file boxes.

“A Dhia Ghleigil” (Oh Glorious God) Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the albom “Vox de Nube”, 1996

Irish tribal Kingdoms circa 500 AD

Irish tribal Kingdoms circa 500 AD

However, taking my Devaney ancestry and running with it I find my oldest ancestors on my mother’s side are believed to descend from King Niall of the Nine Hostages, a successful and legendary king whose possible existence dates from around the mid 5th Century AD.

This genealogical line is the Irish equivalent of the American Mayflower rubber boat myth… BUT … recent technological developments in DNA testing have identified means of tracing human proliferation both prehistoric and substantially more current.

As more and more data is becoming available an accurate picture of human descent will enable us to geographically map human migration and quantify degrees of relatedness amongst cultures is beginning to unravel some very interesting genealogical facts.

And in a wonderful website we find some interesting work by Glenn Devanney. Here is some of it … “In a genetic study conducted by Trinity University of Ireland the “Northwest Irish Modal”, a subclade of the Atlantic modal was first discovered. It is defined by a mutation known as R-M222 (Haplotype) and is considered the R1b1b2e Haplogroup.  Geographically, in Ireland the populations of this modal are centered mainly around Co. Donegal in the North and Co. Sligo to the West. Also Lowland Scotland where descendants of Niall emigrated.

Being a member of this subclade does not guarantee descent from Niall as we are still unsure he existed but it does support the fact that you share a common ancestor with an individual who’s male descendants were quite successful reproductively.

The relative strength of the population numbers found in Co. Donegal correspond with the former territories of Tir Eoghan and Tir Conal, sons of Niall of the Nine Hostages. The stronger population numbers in Co. Sligo correspond with the former Kingdom of the Connaughta from which Niall came, possibly denoting descendants of his brothers, uncles, cousins or ancestors that shared the same DNA

“An Taiseirl (The Resurrection) Noirin Ni Riain & The Monks of Glenstal Abbey, from the album”Vox de Nube”, 1996.

However we slice it, and remembering that “bh” is pronounced “v” in anglicized names and it seems  that Much confusion arises between Devany, Diviney and Devane.” According to Rev. Patrick Woulfe, author of “Irish Names Surnames: Collected & Edited with Explanatory & Historical Notes”, 1923, “Duibheannaigh and Duibheamhna are distinct names with Duibheannaigh of Co. Down, East Ulster”, (contrary to MacLysaght) “and Duibheamhna of the ancient chiefs of the Ui Breasail in Co. Armagh.Conor O’Devaney, the legendary martyr and Bishop of Down and Conor, is refered to as O’Duibheannaigh and O’Duibeamhna in the writings of his contemporaries The Four Masters from the Annals of the Four Masters (Annála na gCeithre Máistrí).

There is some doubt whether these two septs (as mentioned by Woulfe) are two separate septs at all due to geographic proximity. It has also been noted that the sept, Dubhanaigh, is the unquestionably distinct sept of Donegal and Connacht. Woulfe’s “Dubhanaigh” is no doubt MacLysaght’s Duibheannaigh and the Duibheannaigh of East Ulster may simply be an eastern branch of the West Ulster sept. Regardless of the inconsistencies, scholars seem to agree the name Devaney, and every derivation there of, is constructed from at-least two distinct ancient Irish/ Gaelic septs.

Devany, Devaney, Devanney, Deveny, Devenny, Devenney, Davaney,Devenie, Devanie, Duvany, Diviney, MacDevaney, Donveney,….et. al., are Anglicized versions of these septs; versions which exist in Ireland and worldwide. Devaney is without a doubt Gaelic in origin and not Anglo/Norman as some heraldry providers would like you to believe.

So all this leads into a little story of my recent ancestors and their own version of BREXIT. You see, back in the day, folks didn’t have to rely on a referendum to get permission to leave whichever polity they were unhappy with. They just up and left and on their own hook started a new life somewhere else where they thought their prospects more favorable. Things were simpler and perhaps more honest back then, eh?

November 24, 1831.  “I the undersigned, having received the mutual consent of Michael Devanny, Son of Darby Devanny and Margaret Gillan, of the County of Sligo, Ireland, and Ann Magown, Daughter of James Magown and Bridget MacCown,  of the Same County, Married them in the presence of John Stewart, Patrick MacMullin and John Scollion. (signed by) J. Loughran P.P.”

Thus begins the story of my mother’s family in the new world. Before the first child was baptized the family name had been changed to DeVan and they had three children baptized as DeVan before Michael’s untimely death 7 and a half years later. The DeVan Family Bible states that Michael DeVan died 20th of May 1839 at Dartmouth from stepping on a rusty nail. St. Mary’s R.C. Registers (Halifax) Burials (1830-1842) No. 25, (PANS Reel 11506)

“I the undersigned buried Michael DeVan aged 34 years, husband of Ann McGowan, a Ship carpenter by trade and a native of Ireland. J Loughnan P.P.”

In a time when life was often short and even brutal, and literacy was not widespread amongst the common man, name spelling varied from day to day and person to person it seems. I wonder what career paths were available back then to the sort of folks who make up the majority of the media and politicians today. Things were less “democratic” and the politically decreed “safety nets” were simply non-existent.