A Reminder of the Importance of Extended Family

It never hurts all of us to be reminded of the importance of tracing extended family members. That’s true in general and it is especially true when tracing immigrant families.

Samuel Neill and his brother, Joseph, were Irish immigrants to the United States, settling in Hancock County, Illinois, in the late 1860s. They men naturalized in the era where United States naturalization records frequently provide little in the way of detailed information on their origins. By 1912, both men were dead.

I recently discovered, partially due to an analysis of my DNA results, another brother of the Neills who remained in Ireland. One of that brother’s children immigrated to the United States after some of his own children were born, including a son Samuel who was born in Ireland in July of 1905.

That Samuel Neill, a grandson of my immigrant ancestor’s brother, naturalized in the United States in Lake County, Indiana, in 1938. That’s a time when United States naturalization records are significantly more detailed. I’m waiting to obtain a copy of the record at this time.

The number of years that elapsed between my ancestor immigrating and his grand-nephew immigrating are significant: approximately 50.

The number of years between my ancestor naturalizing and his grand-nephew naturalizing are also significant: nearly 60.

The later time period means that records are probably more detailed. The later Neill immigrants did not settle near where their earlier relatives had. I’m not even certain if they were aware of where their uncles’ families were living when they arrived in the 1920s in Gary, Indiana.

But they did use many of the same first names. That’s not proof of a connection, but it is a nice coincidence.

The card in this illustration is from:

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950 (M1285); Microfilm Serial: M1285; Microfilm Roll: 129

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2 thoughts on “A Reminder of the Importance of Extended Family

  1. Lisa Gorrell says:

    I’m hoping to some day match some Irish cousins who didn’t come to the US. Surely my ancestors had siblings who remained in the old country.

    • I still have one Irish great-great-grandmother whose is an enigma. I’m hoping when I’ve sifted through the Irish matches to have something to work on that’s from her side of the family–so far, no luck.

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