Saturday, August 11, 2012
Posted by Craig Kanalley on 8/11/2012
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.]