Monday, April 21, 2014

MILESTONE: 50,000 Individuals

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 4/21/2014 1 comments
On Monday, April 21, 2014, my genealogical research hit a new milestone.

Since starting researching my family tree in October 1998 with seven people (me, my parents, my grandparents), some 15 years ago, my genealogy file has grown considerably.  Now it has reached 50,000 individuals.

To be fair, not every one of the 50,000 is a blood relative of mine.  Some are cousins of my cousins, and families of those who married into my family.  But everyone connects in some way, which is pretty amazing in itself.  I'd estimate 35,000+ people in the file are blood related.

Over the years, as I've accumulated stories, notes, and photographs, the file size has grown considerably.  It's grown so much that when I try to load my file, I've found that most family tree programs freeze up or take a really long time.

That delay in load time led me to a 100% online-only tree which lives on  That tree is here.  I trust their servers and just in case I back up now and then.  (In fact, probably due for a backup tonight given the milestone.)

Updating via the Web is easy, and it allows me to do research in another tab or window while updating the file on the fly.  In the past 15 years, that's one of the things that's changed the most -- so many genealogical records are now online.  And so many are available for free too, which is great. is one of the great free sites out there, with tons of records available.

So who was the 50,000th individual?  I didn't pay close enough attention, and the file is at 50,214 now, but in recent weeks I've been researching my Alsace/Lorraine ancestors and their families.  So many of the French records are online now, so I've been going through them.

One family I inputted into the tree yesterday: the Dannenhoffers of Brooklyn, NY.  Dannenhoffer is my gr-gr-gr-grandmother's maiden name.  I figured the Dannenhoffers in Brooklyn were related, I knew about them before, and now I've made the connection.

John Louis Dannenhoffer (1871-1910) and his brother Nicholas Ludwig Dannenhoffer (1872-1916), both born in Brooklyn, founded a glassworks operation, the Williamsburg Flint Glass Works.  Glassmaking was a trade the Dannenhoffer family has been involved with since the old country in France, and some of the families I'm a descendant of have been in the trade for hundreds of years.  John and Nicholas are pictured below, and they're my 5th cousins, 3 times removed; both children of Jean Dannenhoffer of Rahling, Moselle, France.

John L. Dannenhoffer

Nicholas L. Dannenhoffer

Monday, February 11, 2013

My 31st Great-Grandmother, St. Adela

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 2/11/2013 1 comments

In November 2008, I confirmed that I was a descendant of royalty. To be honest, just about everyone goes back to royal lineage, if you go back far enough. (It's a numbers game. We have an astronomical number of ancestors who lived, say, 1,000 years ago.) But finding confirmation is another matter. So  as a genealogy enthusiast, I was delighted to make that discovery.

Tonight, four years and a few months later, I was browsing the Internet to learn more about these royal lines, and I discovered that one of my ancestors was a Catholic saint.

St. Adela (princess of France, countess of Flanders) was born about 1010 in France, the daughter of Robert II, King of the Franks, and Constance Arles de Toulouse.

In 1027 she married her first husband Richard III, Duke of Normandy. He died shortly after and they had no children. She married again in 1028 Baldwin V, Count of Flanders, and they had my ancestor Robert I of Flanders.

After her second husband died, she became a nun. She helped establish Catholic educational institutions and monasteries/abbeys, and she died in Mesen, Belgium in 1079 where she is buried.

There's an interesting piece about her here, written by someone who visited Mesen, Belgium. According to her Wikipedia page, she was known most commonly as Adèle of France, Adela of Flanders, Adela the Holy or Adela of Messines. Other forms of her name are Adélaïde, Adelheid, Aelis and Alix. Here's her Catholic Saint page.

My relationship to St. Adela can be seen in the chart below. Click to enlarge.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wallace Family Origin Found!

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 8/25/2012 13 comments
Today, after many years of searching, I finally learned the origin of my Wallace family prior to Canada: Parish of Feakle, County Clare, Ireland.

It's not just any find. This one has special significance to me because my great-grandpa's name was Wallace Kanalley - his first name was named after the family. (Here's a picture of him with his mother Mary Wallace and sisters about 1917.)

I also personally inherited the Wallace "family blanket," which used to be in the possession of Wallace's sister, my great-grandaunt, Marlene. It's a Scottish blanket made of wool, decorated in the Wallace clan's colors (they were Scotch-Irish).

On top of all this, I'm working on a novel right now, inspired by a true story - that of Wallace Kanalley's parents, Jim Kanalley & Mary Wallace. More to come later on that.
My ancestor Andrew Martin Wallace, born in 1856
in Canada, whose father Daniel was born in Ireland.
I just learned his grandparents John & Catherine
Wallace also came to Canada, dying in the 1850s.

So learning of the Wallace's origin is really exciting. How did I make this discovery?

I've been going through the early Cobourg, Ontario, Roman Catholic church records (digitized here), literally page-by-page for clues on the Wallace family.

I found this burial record today listed under Nov. 26, 1857: John Wallace interred, from the Parish of Feakle, County Clare, age 78 years.

It was what I needed after finding just days earlier this burial record under July 16, 1854: Catherine Wallace, wife of John Wallace, age 72 years.

They were who I was looking for after finding the death certificate of Martin Wallace years ago (he was my 4th great-grandpa Daniel Wallace's brother). It lists the parents as John Wallace and Catherine Cain.

So I knew their names were John and Catherine. I did NOT know if they made the trip to Cobourg with their kids (and 1851 census for Cobourg was destroyed in a fire), but I assumed so since there was at least Daniel, Martin and their sisters Catherine and Mary who made the voyage in the early 1840s.

Martin Wallace, born in Ireland, son of
John Wallace and Catherine Keane, and uncle
of my ancestor Andrew Martin Wallace.
Now I know for sure they did.

Further research of the Cobourg records shows Wallaces witnessing "Kane" and "Keane" births, marriages, etc., so I am confident Catherine's maiden name was actually KEANE as it is spelled in Ireland.

Solidifying the connection, I found a John Wallace in the 1827 Tithe Applotment Books in County Clare listed in Parish of Feakle here. He's the only Wallace in the parish, but there are several Keane's.

Conveniently, Feakle parish in Co. Clare is located between Co. Galway and Co. Limerick, both counties I will be visiting when I go to Ireland this fall. I can surely drive through it.

Prior to this discovery, I didn't even know what part of Ireland the Wallace's were from - not a clue! Not only did this give a county but a parish. And the Tithe Books list a townland for John Wallace too, within Parish Feakle: Kilanena. There's also an Edward Keane and William Keane in the same townland.

It's worth noting that since Wallace is such an uncommon name in Co. Clare, it's reasonable to assume John Wallace came to Co. Clare from elsewhere. And since I know the family was Scotch-Irish in origin, he surely had roots in Northern Ireland, where the Wallace name is prevalent, and further back in Scotland.

Related: I just went to Cobourg, Ontario, where John Wallace and Catherine Keane died in the 1850s, last weekend. It was my first stay there. Photos here and here.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

My Random Connections To Paul Ryan

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 8/11/2012 9 comments

This morning, Mitt Romney announced Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) as his running mate for the 2012 U.S. Presidential election.

As I did four years ago when Joe Biden and Sarah Palin were announced as VP nominees, I immediately began looking through Paul Ryan's family history to see if I might find any interesting links to my own family.

He is Irish and German, as am I, and I have plenty of cousins in the Midwest, so I was very excited to commence this search when I learned he was the nominee.

If Ryan and I are blood related, I determined it's most likely through his mother's side. His mom's maiden name is Hutter, and her ancestors are from Bavaria, Germany, where I have plenty of roots. Sure enough, I'm a descendant of a Bavarian-born woman named Cecelia HÜTHER (same family, more German spelling) - in fact, so is Nicolas Cage - she and her husband Heinrich Ludwig Vogelgesang are our most recent common ancestors.

The only problem is Ryan's Hutter roots haven't been nailed down to a particular town of origin in Bavaria, and therefore we can't trace his Hutter ancestry back beyond the 1800s, at least for now. (I will say it's likely we are connected though through the HUTTER/HUETHER family if you go back far enough. How far, not sure, but it's not the most common German name.)

BUT, I found a REALLY interesting connection nonetheless.

Paul Ryan was born and raised (and still lives in) Janesville, Rock County, Wisconsin. Many of his Irish roots are in Rock County. Would you believe I have an Ireland-born ancestor myself who once lived in Rock County, Wisconsin?

My 5th great-grandfather Michael Tracy can be found in Rock County, Wisconsin in 1860 per the U.S. Census. In fact, he's believed to have died in Rock County sometime after 1873 but I haven't found the death record yet.

Born about 1802 in Ireland, Tracy immigrated to Canada in the late 1820s, had my 4th great-grandmother Mary Jane Tracy about 1832 in Hamilton Twp (Cobourg), Ontario. When Mary Jane's mother died in 1837, he remarried in 1841 to a Catherine Fitzpatrick. They went on to have 10 kids.

Michael immigrated to the United States with his second wife in about 1853, settling in -- you guessed it, Rock County, Wisconsin. He had a brother John Tracy who was already there.

My ancestor Michael Tracy and his brother John had children who lived in Janesville, and MANY descendants in Janesville. As far as I can tell, Paul Ryan was not one of them, but he was likely neighbors/friends/etc. with many of my own blood relatives, also of Irish descent, Tracy descendants.

Another interesting tidbit: Paul Ryan is HIMSELF a descendant of the Fitzpatrick family. His great-grandfather Patrick W. Ryan was born in 1862 in Wisconsin to Irish immigrants Patrick Ryan and Margaret Fitzpatrick. She was born in 1840, and there's no indication she's related to Catherine Fitzpatrick Tracy. But you never know.

[Also, as a Buffalo Bills fan, I have to say, when Paul Ryan's great-great-grandparents got married, the newspaper marriage notice would have said RYAN-FITZPATRICK. Kind of cool.]

Saturday, June 9, 2012

What I Learned From A DNA Test

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 6/09/2012 7 comments

I've been researching my family tree since 1998, and I've long been curious about DNA as a way to learn more about your roots. The technology has come a long way in the last decade, and it's become more affordable too. Finally, I went ahead and ordered a Y-DNA test (for my paternal line).

Last night, at 1:30 a.m., the results popped in my email inbox from the FamilyTreeDNA lab in Houston, Texas!

When I logged in to see the results, 29 "matches" popped up - these are living people today who I share a common direct male ancestor with in about the last 1,000 years. (To be clear, the Y-DNA only passes father to son, so this traces my father's father's father, etc., and same for them.) These matches live in Ireland, England, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and presumably elsewhere (some don't list a location).


Of course, for any matches to come up, I need to have living blood relatives through the male line who took DNA tests themselves. And I'm so grateful and excited that two people I'm about to address did...

I had *two* close matches, genealogically-speaking, and the rest were more distant. The surnames to those closest matches? A Kennelly and a MacNeely, variations of my own last name. They both live in Ireland!

My relationship to the MacNeely, who I learned is about 28 years old today and lives in County Mayo, Ireland, goes back to a common male ancestor with the surname Kennelly (sometimes Mac an Fhaili in Ireland), MacNally, or McAnally who lived around the 1600s.

My relationship to the Kennelly is closer. He lives in Ireland today in County Cork near the border with County Limerick (where my great-great-great-grandfather Thomas Kennelly was born -- he immigrated to Canada during the Potato Famine). We seem to both descend of a Kennelly born in the 1700s.

What makes the connection to these two men so interesting, most Irish genealogical records burned in fires in Dublin and don't exist today. Without them, it's hard to trace Irish roots any further back than the 1800s. But nonetheless I've made links with long lost cousins, prior to that time so many Irish researchers hit a brick wall.

I've written emails to both of them and hope to hear back!


The rest of the matches are more distant, though interestingly I found both a McKee and a McGee, who I have a common male ancestor with in Ireland who lived around the 1400s. Also a McSorley, a Koster, a Walker, a Crauford and a Hannon who I go back to about the same period, perhaps more likely the 1300s.

But what I found most interesting of the distant matches -- the ADAMS connection. Three of my matches were males with the last name ADAMS. There was also one female whose maiden name was ADAMS and one Smith who says he traces back (father's father's father, etc.) to a male Adams. There was a second Smith who I suspect could also go back to an Adams.

In all, that's five Adams descendants, possibly six, in my 29 matches. And sure enough, I learned the DNA subgroup / family group of former U.S. presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams matches my own.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams trace their Adams roots back to southwestern England, right across the water from southern Ireland, where my Kennelly roots lie.

My matches showed that my genealogical relationship to the Adams family lies in a common male ancestor way back, around the 1100s or 1200s. It's my best guess that an Adams, or a member of the same family in which male relatives took Adams as a surname, migrated from southwestern England to Ireland around that time period or shortly after, and that my Kennellys descend from this family.

It's also possible, however, that the connection goes back to before surnames were used at all, as they were just sprouting up around that time.

Either way, there is no doubt that I am blood related to the Adams family if you trace back through Y-DNA (my father's father's father, etc., and theirs). Eventually, we hit a single male figure who we both come from. And that's pretty cool.


I did some more research on my Y-DNA haplogroup, R1b1a2, and if you keep going back (through my father's father's father, etc.), my direct male ancestors were Celtics. They seem to have lived in Western Europe at the time of Jesus Christ and the Ancient Romans and Ancient Greeks likely saw them as uncivilized barbarians. They were likely tribal people in B.C. times, nomadic herders, moving around as famines and droughts hit.

Migration patterns show that my DNA group likely originated in western Asia, in the Middle East or Black Sea region (modern day Turkey), living there 20,000 and 30,000 years ago. There are relatives with similar DNA going thousands of years back in what is now Iran, India, Syria, Israel and Turkey. This family group also branched off into Africa, where the Y-DNA is alive and well in Central Africa. One branch ended up in Egypt specifically, and the Egyptian Pharaoh King Tut belongs to the same haplogroup as I.

After the Ice Age around 10,000 B.C., the larger haplogroup I come from R1b is believed to have brought agriculture to Europe from western Asia. It ended up becoming one of the most popular family groups in Europe, with some 50% of Western Europeans and Americans tracing back to them and 90% of those in Ireland.

My more specific subgroup R1b1a2a1a1b4 seems to have lived in southern Ireland, northwestern Ireland, and southwestern England in the last 1,000 years or so.


I was so excited by these results that I upgraded my account to trace my maternal line too. I also put in a "Family Finder" request so it gives me a rough overall breakdown of my genealogical DNA (what percentage I am Western European, what percentage other origins, etc.).

My DNA is already at the lab, so now I just have to wait another month or so, and I'm sure to find more interesting things.

Until then, I hope to hear back from my Kennelly and McNeely cousins overseas, who I emailed as I said earlier. I may contact some of these more distant relatives as well.

And later on, in November, I'm going to Ireland for the first time ever. I hope to track down Mr. Kennelly, Mr. MacNeely or at least more of my roots based on the new evidence I've uncovered. The power of DNA… it's really something.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Connection To Football History

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 11/13/2011 0 comments
Today, appropriately on a Sunday during the NFL season, I learned that a distant relative of mine played in the first game in NFL history.

Not only did he play in the game, George "Hobby" Kinderdine kicked the first extra point in NFL history and his team, the Dayton Triangles, defeated the Columbus Panhandles 14-0. The date was Oct. 3, 1920.

(Scroll down for relationship chart)

Kinderdine played center/guard in addition to kicker for 10 seasons for Dayton from 1920-1929. According to Dayton Area Sports History, he "earned a reputation of being the greatest center of that era" with "remarkable strength and athletic ability, supplemented with an uncanny instinct." Kinderdine played with NFL Hall of Famers and All-Americans, and at times for Jim Thorpe's Canton Bulldogs when Dayton didn't have a game scheduled.

Kinderdine passed on his love for football to his grandson Jack Kinderdine, who went on to play at Dartmouth, setting three Ivy League passing records his senior year and earning Associated Press All-American honors.

My relationship to the Kinderdine clan comes through George's mother, Ida Grundish, born 1872 in Ohio. My maternal grandmother was Lois Grundtisch. The two trace their lineage back to twin brothers, Johann Nicolaus Grundtisch and Johann Adam Grundtisch, born June 26, 1736 in Pörrbach, Bavaria, Germany, sons of Swiss-born Adam Grundisch.

(Note: In terms of the spelling differences, these aren't typos. The name was spelled Grundtisch in Germany, Grundisch in Switzerland, and both Grundish and Grundtisch in the USA.)

Here's the exact relationship. LOOK:

I've posted charts for other prominent distant relatives of mine, including Johnny Depp and Nicholas Cage, here.

Monday, February 28, 2011

My Relationship To Prince William

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 2/28/2011 1 comments
Today I saw "The King's Speech," just a few hours before it won the big Oscar tonight for Best Picture.

It was fantastic, and as a genealogy enthusiast, it immediately sent me to Wikipedia when I walked out of the movie theatre to figure out the relationships of the characters to Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal Family.

When I found out the film focused on Queen Elizabeth II's parents, George VI and Elizabeth I, my interest peaked. These, of course, are the great-grandparents of Prince William. And what a speech his great-grandfather gave. Such a moving sequence in the film.

It also reminded me of my own connection to royalty -- in November 2008 (a decade after starting to research my family history), I found the definitive link tracing my ancestry back to Charlemagne.

Of course, the modern-day Royal Family in England descends of Charlemagne, too, and while I had never officially made the link to them, tonight I spent time filling their line into my tree, and I now have a definitive blood link.

Prince William, engaged to be married to Kate Middleton in April, is my 32nd cousin, once removed.

It's an *insane* relationship, when you think about it -- hugely distant. First cousins share grandparents, second cousins share great-grandparents, third cousins share great-great-grandparents, and so on. We are 32nd cousins! That means we share 31-greats-grandparents.

Our common ancestors include Charlemagne, but our most direct link is to Baldwin of Flanders V and Adelheid, Princess of France, who married in Paris in 1028. Their son Baldwin of Flanders is my ancestor, and their daughter Matilda who married some guy named William the Conqueror (William I, King of England), is Prince William's ancestor.

And there you have it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Remembering Grandpa Kanalley

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 2/20/2010 6 comments

I never met him, but I've heard so many stories.

My grandfather Kenneth Wallace Kanalley died of a massive heartattack 30 years ago to the day on Feb. 20, 1980. He was 47 years old.

He lived his whole life in Buffalo, New York, besides being stationed overseas with the Marines during the Korean War. He loved the outdoors - fishing, hunting, scuba diving. He loved ice hockey, not a surprise considering his Canadian roots (both of his parents grew up in Ontario and all four of his grandparents were born in Canada).

Back in the day, he played hockey with Pierre Pilote before Pilote went on to an outstanding NHL career and was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame.

He was a "jokester" and a "prankster," He was a very hardworker, spending time as a maintenance man and steeple jack. He loved his family, three kids, and he loved my grandmother Rita, pictured above on their wedding day.

Today, 30 years after his death, our family remembers him, and I wanted to pay tribute to his life.

Today was a special day for my family for another reason. My sister, Melissa Kanalley, scored a career-high 34 points in Pittsburgh today to eclipse 1,000 points for her college basketball career at D'Youville College. It was her second-to-last ever game and she needed 30 points to hit the mark. What a way to do it. We know Grandpa K. was watching.

And it's a special time for my family for yet one more reason: the Winter Olympics.

Thirty years ago, my Grandpa Kanalley predicted the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team would pull off a monumental feat - a gold medal. Two days after his death, on Feb. 22, 1980, they upset the HEAVILY-favored Soviet Union in Lake Placid, New York, in one of the most memorable sporting events in American history. Grandpa was buried a day later on Feb. 23, and Team USA went on to win the gold, defeating Finland.

Well, Grandpa, I'm hoping we can do it again. We got USA-Canada tomorrow, Feb. 21, 2010. A prelim game, but a special one nonetheless. With the Sabres' own Ryan Miller in nets for the U.S., here's hoping for a gold in 2010 in Canada. Either way, it's Olympic hockey. I know you're watching.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How I'm related to Nicolas Cage

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 10/18/2009 4 comments
As a fan of his work on screen, I've got to say I was delighted to discover that I'm distantly related to Nicolas Cage.

We're ninth cousins, once removed to be precise. That means my father and him are ninth cousins -- in this case, their great-grandparent's great-grandparent's great-grandfathers were brothers. Follow? (Chart at the bottom of this post.)

I've known for some time that his mother's maiden name was Vogelsang, and that made me always suspect a connection, as I'm a Vogelgesang descendant and that family had many descendants in America use the Vogelsang spelling.

Vogelgesang, a surname meaning "dweller of where the bird's sing" (Vogelsang translates to "bird's song"), is not a common name to begin with and I soon learned that Cage's family goes back to Bavaria, Germany, as does mine.

After in-depth research, I was able to trace his Vogelsang family from California to Illinois, and before that Ohio, linking directly to a branch of my family that settled there.

Our common ancestors are Heinrich Ludwig Vogelgesang (1644-1704) and Cecelia Huether (1646-1695). He descends of their son Hans Jacob born 1671 and I come from their son Johann Georg born 1675.

As promised, here's the chart showing our exact relationship (click to enlarge):

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Link to Chicago Mayor Kennelly?

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 8/12/2009 9 comments
Last September, when I first moved to Chicago, I threw together a blog post of my genealogical connections to the city.

The most interesting and ironic link from that list was that my great-grandfather Wallace Kanalley came to Chicago looking for work in 1920 at the age of 18, not far away from my coming at 23. He spent time as a watchman, but obviously didn't stay, as he was in Buffalo a few years later (where I grew up), and had my grandfather Kenneth in Buffalo in 1932.

Since then, I've also learned that some of my Bulger relatives came from Canada to Chicago in the late 1800's (not listed in that original post).

And tonight, an old video triggered an old memory.

The video is literally old, though I found it in the most new media of ways. A YouTube video depicting 1948 night life in Chicago, I came across it while doing work with Twitter during my internship today at the Chicago Tribune.

At 1:39-1:43, the video mentions Colonel McCormick, former Tribune publisher, who @ColonelTribune was inspired by.

Interestingly, the man introduced in the video right before Colonel is "the honorable Mayor Martin H. Kennelly." Mayor of Chicago from 1947 to 1955, the name immediately brought back memories.

Chicago Mayor Martin H. Kennelly, 1947, Photo by Time (OK for personal use)

About five years ago or so, long before I knew I'd ever come to Chicago, a distant relative of mine said they had heard we're related to a Mayor Martin Kennelly. I knew he was from Chicago, but I didn't know when he served. How ironic I came across him in the video...

INTERESTINGLY, the guy in the video pronounces the surname the way I pronounce mine, and even more interesting I think, I know for a fact my name used to be spelled Kennelly in Ireland. I'm very confident there's a link.

I did a little digging. He was born in Chicago in 1887 and his father is said to have come from Ballylongford, Co. Kerry, according to genealogy forums. County Kerry neighbors County Limerick, where my ancestor Thomas Kennelly was born in about 1820. Again, I'm sure there's some kind of connection. It's even possible that Thomas had a brother who was Martin's grandfather, making the former Mayor and my great-grandfather Wallace just second cousins.

So here's the video... watch from about 1:34-1:39.


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