Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Rennie's

The more I look at the Rennie's, the more I think they were quite possibly originally Irish in origin.  I've had my father's y-DNA tested, and he's M222+, otherwise known as the Niall of the Nine Hostages haplotype which is very common in northern Ireland and southwest Scotland.

Peter Rennie (1818-1870) was the son of Peter Rennie and Mary Martin.

I've checked ScotlandsPeople, and in the Statutory Records, there is a Mary Martin Rennie who died in 1860, at the age of 76.  Her husband's name is not listed (only that she was the widow of a laborer).  However, her age is roughly correct for the three baptism records I've found, and there is no other Mary Martin Rennie in the Old Parish records or in the Catholic records other than Mary Martin, wife of Peter.

It's still circumstantial, after all it's always possible this is another Mary Martin Rennie who perhaps never had children, but for me this is enough confirmation that I have the correct Mary.

Proceeding along, Mary Martin Rennie's parents are listed as Peter Martin (a stonemason) and Mary Timmoney.

Martin of course is a very common surname and can be of either Scottish or Irish origin.  Timmoney (and various other spellings) however is most certainly of Irish origin.  But what we don't know is when her family came to Scotland from Ireland.

To my knowledge, this line has always been Catholic.  I haven't found anything to contradict that (yet), but also the records pre-1855 in Scotland are rather patchy.  It's possible they converted from Church of Scotland/Ireland, most likely through marriage.

So there I am.  Still searching, still with no certainty whether my Rennie's were Scottish or Irish.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rennie Family in Scotland

Researching my Rennie family, my direct paternal lineage, is honestly the one lineage that intimidates me.  This is because many others before me, including my grandfather and two of his brothers, have looked into our history.  They even took a trip to Scotland in the early 1990s to see the homeland their grandparents had left in 1882 for the coal country of Pennsylvania and to further their research.  Several of their cousins had also researched the family prior to this and after.  It left me feeling like there were big shoes to fill on this branch.

William Rennie (1853-1909) and his wife Isabella McMuldren (1857-1907) immigrated to the US in 1882 with their three small children, Daniel, Jane, and James.  Isabella's mother, Jane O'Hara McMuldren Downey and her second (and much younger) husband, and several of Isabella's siblings also immigrated to the US and settled in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, alongside William and Isabella.  William's older brother Thomas was living in Ohio at this time, while at least two of his other brothers, Edward and Andrew had decided to test their luck in Australia.

William and Isabella would go on to have 10 children, with my great-grandfather John Anthony Rennie being number 7, born in 1888.

In addition to being poor, they were also Catholic in a majority Protestant country.  It is unknown whether this played any part in their immigration, however it is worth noting that they settled their family in a very Catholic county thanks to the founder and priest, Prince Augustus Gallitzin.  

Delving deeper, we see both William and Isabella had Scottish fathers and Irish mothers.  However, unlike Isabella's father who was born Protestant, William's father it seems was likely baptized into the Catholic faith at birth.

William's parents were Peter Rennie (abt 1818 - 1870) and Margaret McIntyre (abt 1819 - 1895).  From their death records we see that Peter's parents were Peter Rennie and Mary Martin.

Checking ScotlandsPeople, we see that a Peter Rennie and Mary Martin had three children baptized in the Catholic church in 1820, 1822, and 1827.  First, a son "Barnaby Renny" as he's recorded, was baptized on March 19, 1820 at 8 St. James Place in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.  His sponsors were Isaias Dunbar and Sarah McRoy.

Next, a daughter, "Catherine Rainey" was baptized on January 13, 1822 also at 8 St. James Place in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.  Her sponsors were Francis Burns and what appears to be Nancy Havling.

Finally, another daughter "Bridget Renny" was baptized on February 11, 1827 at St. Mary's in Greenock.  Her sponsors were John Griffin and Bridget Gallagher.

It is unknown what became of Barnaby, Catherine, and Bridget.  It's also unknown whether they and Peter had any other siblings.  It's likely though they did.

Peter Sr. it seems died before 1855 when death records became mandatory for everyone.  It's unknown whether Mary also died before 1855.  And given Barnaby's unusual name, it also seems likely he died prior to 1855 as well, or perhaps immigrated though I have no data backing up that possibility.

This is still a work in progress.  Whether there is anymore information out there or not though is uncertain.  I hope there is.

The last thing I will say for now is that I have had my father's y-dna tested and he tests as R1b-M222+.  This is otherwise known as the "Niall of the Nine Hostages Haplotype".  It is most common in northern Ireland and southern Scotland.  At this point he does not have any close matches.  Additionally none of the currently tested Rainey's are related.  My current presumption is that the dearth of Rennie's tested is the reason behind this lack of matches.