A McCormack DNA update – A strikeout!

I wanted to give everyone a DNA update. If I failed to announce it to everyone, the McCormack yDNA “project” results came in. Right now, “we” are in the R-DC9 haplogroup. We are awaiting more people to compare our results to. Our kit number is 436834.

What I really wanted to announce today for the McCormack yDNA “project” is that we struck out on our first attempt to find another branch of the Michael McCormack family. I need to give some background for this. About 4 or 5 years ago, I posted in an online Irish forum about my attempts to look for relatives of Michael. To my great amazement, someone from Ireland replied! Even better, he said his family was also from Kilkenny and lived there during the same time period that Michael did. We kept up the correspondence since then. Earlier this year, I finally got a yDNA test (Y37) and convinced my Irish friend to take it for me. In mid-October, FTDNA received the test. They said that it would be 4-7 weeks before our results would be posted. Well, last Thursday I got an email from FTDNA saying that our results were in and would be posted that day.

To start out, I had my Irish friend tested at the Y-37 level with the idea if that our results matched that we could always increase the testing level from 37 markers to 67 markers and beyond if necessary. I excitedly logoned to look at the results. As I looked at my friend’s results, my expression went from great anticipation to bitter disappointment. Well, by the 3rd marker our genetic distance, G.D., was 3. As I looked further at my friend’s results, the genetic distance only increased to a final result of 24. That is, “my” results only matched my Irish friend’s results at 13 out of 37 markers. I had put a lot of hope into the fact, or wish, that our results would match. My friend and I had talked many times about how we really thought that our families were related. So, when it turned out that we weren’t, I was “disappointed.”

I told my friend about it and he was just as disappointed as I was. He felt the same way that I did that our families were related. But as I explained to him, that sometimes you get results like this. Genealogy, especially genetic genealogy is not a guaranteed proposition. It was a roll of the dice and it didn’t payout this time. Both he and I are still working together to find Irish or non-Irish relatives for our respective families.

I am not sure what my next step will be in regards to DNA testing. There are two options that I can do right now. The first option would be to increased our testing level from Y67 to Y111. That would cost about $99. I am not exactly sure on what that would do to increase the number of matches for our results. The second option would be what is called the “Big Y” test. At the current time, it is an expensive test at about $475. The “Big Y” test would give us some finality to our haplogroup designation. As with increasing our testing level from Y67 to Y111, I am not sure what the “Big Y” test would do to increase the number of matches for our results.

I want to thank my Irish friend for agreeing to test for me. I hope that it works out for him. I also want to thank my McCormack cousin for agreeing to take a DNA test for me. I wouldn’t have been able to do this much without his cooperation.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope that you learned something!

An interesting find?

One of the many resources that I have come to rely on is FamilySearch.org. Last night, I was checking the hints on the FamilySearch app and came across a hint involving Michael, Catherine, and William. It came from the Kentucky Births and Christenings, 1838-1960 database.

William's Christening?

I see several things wrong with this record.

1.) Michael and William’s last name is spelled as McCommock instead of either McCormick or McCormack.

2.) Catherine’s name is spelled as Cate. I have seen Kate before but not Cate. Those are relatively minor with the last name spelling of Michael and William being a tad greater than the spelling of his mother’s first name.

3.) The big thing for me is the alleged birthplace of William. On this record, it states that William was born on 9 Jul 1853 (which matches everything else I have) in Mercer (County), Kentucky. I have at least two records stating that William (my great-grandfather) was born and baptized in Kilkenny, Ireland. I have a marriage record showing that Michael and Catherine were married 26 Sep 1853 in Kilkenny. I also have an immigration or ship’s manifest that mentions Michael and Catherine and also says that there is an infant (William) with them. It is dated 5 Oct 1853 leaving from Liverpool, England and arriving in New Orleans, Louisiana on 21 Nov 1853.

While I was on the FamilySearch website, I was asked if this record was a match. I said no for many of the reasons that I stated above. I also said that if this record was for William’s Christening, it would change things for me. I don’t know if I would say that this record would be a match or not.

The one big thing that I can take away from this record if all the people involved are “my” people, is that it would tend to confirm that Michael, Catherine, and William stopped in (Mercer County,) Kentucky. What is important about this is that family lore says that those three stopped in (Harrodsburg or) Kentucky to visit Catherine’s brother. This record would tend to confirm that story. What I have to do now is find a record that I can look at that show the same information I found on this record.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you learn something.

Lost and found! A “new” McCormack!

Earlier today, I was looking through the “hints” or the “Tasks” button on the FamilySearch app, “Family Tree” when I came across a task/hint for a Lizzie McCormack. I looked at the task and the Lizzie Mccormack turned out to be Elizabeth J. (Rohr) McCormack, the wife of Edward J. McCormack, who was the son of Michael and Catherine (Paine) McCormack).

What I found is a death record for a Albert McCormack. 

Albert McCormack Death Record

Albert McCormack’s record of death [1]

Given that there was a four year gap between the birth of Albert’s brothers, William Edward b.1890 and Donald James b. 1894 and that Elizabeth seemed to have a baby every two to three years, I had suspected that there might have been another child for Edward and Elizabeth.

At first, the records that were available for Albert seemed to indicate that he was born and died on the same day of Jan 5th. I took another look at the entry for Albert’s apparent age. 


his age? [1]

Initially, I thought that the entry in the month box was just an ink blob. Upon further reflection and thought, I came to the conclusion that entry was in fact, the number 5. If indeed my assumption is right that Albert was five months old when he died, that would mean that he was born sometime around Aug 1891. Given that this is death record/index, I am not going to find an exact date of birth. However, since that the person’s age is broken down into years, months and days, I could extrapolate back to arrive at a calculated date of birth. That is how I came up with the presumed date of birth of Aug 1891. Since Albert did not live that long, there is going to be a dearth of records available. There might be one record for inspection if my guess about Albert’s age of 5 months is correct. That would be a birth certificate. Now, I can look at SeekingMichigan.org to see if they might have a copy of his birth certificate. I know that they have death certificates there.

There was one other thing that I wanted to discuss. His name. I am not sure if his name is really Albert or since he apparently, or could have been, born and died on the same day that he was named for the township that he was born into.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you learned something new today!


  1. “Michigan Deaths, 1867-1897,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N3VR-JQ8 : 12 December 2014), Albert Mccormack, 05 Jan 1892; citing p 332 rn 90, Albert Twp, Montmorency, Michigan, Department of Vital Records, Lansing; FHL microfilm 2,363,831.


More news about Arthur!

Hello, once again! I have more news about the bad boy of the Clan McCormack, Arthur McCormack. I hope you remember my post, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!” where I talk about my great-grand uncle Arthur McCormack getting convicted for bribery. Just a little updater for some people, Arthur McCormack was an alderman in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had been a resident of the beer capital since the late 1880s and in fact, got married there.

As most everyone should know, before someone is convicted, they must be indicted. Today, I would like to talk a little about uncle Arthur’s indictment for bribery.

Arthur's Indictment

Arthur’s indictment announcement*[1]

Arthur was just one of seven people that were indicted that day and his legal problems were just beginning. As someone whose involvement with that side of the law has, fortunately, been limited to a few traffic tickets, I am not sure what motivated Arthur to do what he did. Perhaps he was just doing what might have been thought of as “business as usual” in some places. I also wonder if he thought the three tons of coal was worth the trouble that he was in and what was coming his way. One thing that I noticed and I hope you did too, is that this newspaper article isn’t from Milwaukee. The article that I found about Arthur’s conviction was also not from Milwaukee. One has to wonder why.

I will have more upcoming about Arthur’s legal misadventures in a future Otter Lake Express post.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something new and exciting today!


* Note: I modified the article to just show Arthur’s involvement.


  1. Arthur A. McCormack, “Indict Seven for Grafting,” The Chicago (Chicago, Illinois) Daily Tribune, 12 Jan 1904, Pg. 4, col. 4, digital image, Newspapers.com, http://www.newspapers.com, accessed 6 Apr 2017.


Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!

In my last post here on the Otter Lake Express, “A Glimpse into the Past”, I stated how much I liked that newspapers gave you a more in-depth look at the lives of our ancestors.

In today’s post, I am not talking about the AC/DC song of the same name, but an incident that took place in the life of my great-granduncle, Arthur A. McCormack. Arthur was the son of Michael and Catherine McCormack.

Arthur McCormack at the family reunion in Otter Lake, Michigan.

Arthur McCormack at the family reunion in Otter Lake, Michigan.

A few nights ago, I was on Facebook and I saw an ad for GenealogyBank. Afterwards I went to GenealogyBank where I haven’t been for quite a while. Once on GenealogyBank, I did my standard search for anything McCormack. After looking at several dead ends, I came to this;

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap?

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap? [1]

To summarize the article, Arthur was convicted for taking (very small) “gifts” while an alderman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In my take of the article, it seems that Arthur was known for taking small “gratuities” during his time as an alderman in Milwaukee. Currently, my research has Arthur living in Milwaukee from about 1887 to sometime in 1908 or possibly 1909. So sometime during this almost twenty year period, Arthur was an alderman. The article seems to suggest that he stopped being an alderman around 1902 or 1903. In 1910, I have him and his wife living in Detroit, Michigan.

In researching your family history, it is often said that sooner or later you will find something that you may not be proud of. I am not saying that Arthur was totally corrupt but that he was a partially flawed man.

I also think that this article opens up several research possibilities. I could research his political career or his legal problems.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you learned something! I did!


1. Arthur A. McCormack,  “To Petty Graft, ” The Grand Rapids (Michigan) Press, 23 Nov 1905, pg. 3, cols. 4-5; digital images, GenealogBank.com (genealogybank.com: accessed 3 Oct 2015), Newspaper Archives.

McCormack Family DNA Update!

I have great news! One of my research goals that I have since I started my research in the early 90’s has been to find out if the Michael McCormacks are truly Irish as most of my research has shown and as my gut tells me is true. Well, as I have found out other than my great-grandfather, William E. McCormack, neither one of his parents, Michael and Catherine, left a really great paper trail. My other option was a DNA test. Specifically, a Y-DNA test. For that, I needed a direct male descendant of Michael to take the test for me.  As I have said before in another blog post, I can’t take the test because my grandmother, God bless her, got in the way. Well, delaying the good news no longer, I have found a direct male descendant of Michael to take the test for me. Right now, I am not going to share his name. I want to thank this cousin for his cooperation! I have ordered a Y-DNA67 test for us. In about 2-3 months we should know some results.

Thanks for stopping by!

Where Oh Where did my McCormacks come from?

I must apologize for not posting anything for almost the past month. It has been not because I didn’t want to but that my schedule was pretty taken up with work.

About a month and half ago, I wrote the majority of the below post for an Irish online forum, Your Irish Heritage. I thought I would add to it here.

I imagine a few people remember the old nursery rhyme “Oh Where, oh Where Did My Little Dog Go?” I face a similar problem with “my” McCormacks. I have NO idea on where my McCormacks came from. Were they locals of County Kilkenny? Or were they from somewhere else?

Let me start with what I do know. My great-grandfather, William E. McCormack was born in Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny on 9 Jul 1853[1]. His parents were Michael (M.) McCormack and Catherine Paine/Payne. They were also married in Kilkenny[2]. I don’t know if they were locals or stopped in Kilkenny. I have *NO* birth location or any other location for either Michael or Catherine.

I do have some family stories to go on about Catherine. My dad always told me that he thought the McCormacks came from County Cork. Another story that I heard from another cousin is that Michael and Catherine stopped in Kentucky, where their first daughter Delilia was born, to visit Catherine’s brother. Looking around, I did find a William Payne in Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Oddly enough, his wife’s name was also Delilia. To be exact, I found him for three consecutive censuses, the 1850 [3], the 1860 [4] and finally, the 1870 [5]. This William Payne “disappeared” from the Harrodsburg area after that. I did find another William (H.) Payne in the Chicago, IL area in the 1880 [6] and the 1900 [7] censuses. I believe that this William (H.) Payne died in 1904 [8].

After some more searching on Ancestry.com, I did find a naturalization record for a William Payne [9]. The birth year (1813) fits and so does the place of birth, Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. This is all great, but somehow I have to tie both (?) of the William Paynes I have to my great-great-grandmother, Catherine (Payne) McCormack. As I have already shown, there are several facts that support my theory that William and Catherine are brother and sister.

Since I have some documentation stating that Catherine is from Ireland, I looked on Roots Ireland for some supporting records. I did find one, a church baptism record for a Catherine Payne with a baptism date of 5 Aug 1823. That is almost a full year BEFORE the date of birth that I have for her. But that information was given on Catherine’s death certificate by her daughter, “Minnie”. So, I could have some wiggle room there. There is one more dissenting fact on that record from what I have in my records. On the baptism record, the father’s name is given as James Payne. That does not match with what I have of Robert Paine/Payne.

I have looked at Griffith’s Valuation and have found several Michael McCormacks, but I really haven’t pursued it because I don’t have a documented (or otherwise) location for Michael or Catherine prior to the summer of 1853. Also, while I can find the name, Michael McCormack, in the Griffiths Valuation I can NOT tie any of those people to my Michael. FYI, the Griffith’s Valuations for County Kilkenny, where I presumed Michael lived prior to his marriage, were published in 1849-50.

Speaking of Griffith’s Valuation, I noted on the marriage document for Michael and Catherine that one of the two witnesses was a Margaret Payne. I looked at various Irish websites that offer Griffith’s Valuation searches for a Margaret Payne in County Kilkenny. I found one.

What I will try to do in the future is to pursue the William Payne/Chicago lead. I will also try to find any more information on Margaret Payne, the witness to Michael and Catherine’s marriage. I could also try the ‘Valuation Revision Books’ located in Dublin.

Thanks for stopping by and I hoped you learned something!


1.) Lapeer County, Michigan, Michigan Department of Health, Death Certificate, State File No. 3309 (Local File No. 2), 30 Apr 1943, William E. McCormack, Bureau of Records and Statistics, Lapeer.
2.) “Ireland Marriages, 1619-1898,” Michael McCormick, digital image, http://ifhf.rootsireland.ie/.
3.) 1850 United States Federal Census, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, District #1, Pg. 47 (written) p. 245 (stamped), dwelling #506, family #506, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M432, 1009 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
4.) 1860 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg,Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 27 (written) p. 711 (stamped), dwelling #191, family #191, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M653, 1438 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
5.) 1870 United States Federal Census, Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky, population schedule, Pg. 28 (written), dwelling #192, family #217, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Ninth Census of the United States, 1860; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M593, 1,761 rolls); Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.
6.) 1880 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, E.D. #90, Pg. 34 (written), p. 711 (stamped), house #138, dwelling #223, family #460, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. (NARA microfilm publication T9, 1,454 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
7.) 1900 United States Federal Census, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Ward #8, E.D. #206, Sheet/Pg. 8 (written), B (stamped), house #302, dwelling #99, family #195, William Payne, digital image, Ancestry.com, http://search.ancestry.com/, accessed 6 Jul 2015, citing Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.
8.) “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1939, 1955-1994,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N7W8-NJF : accessed 6 July 2015), William H. Payne, 27 Sep 1904; citing , Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference cn 13653, record number 77, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,710.
9.) “United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VXRC-Q6Z : accessed 6 July 2015), William Payne, 1841; citing Maine, NARA microfilm publication M1299 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 101; FHL microfilm 1,429,771.