Hughes' Views & News

An invitation for Hughes men in Ireland

Posted in Genealogy, Hughes by tahughesnc on May 23, 2017

The H. Hughes pub in Carrickmacross.

Five years ago, in 2012, I decided to begin researching my family history and to have my DNA tested.  I ordered a Y-DNA37 test from Family Tree DNA, joined the Hughes DNA Project, and began waiting for my results.

While I was waiting, I noticed that there was a man in the Hughes Project from South Carolina who reported having the same earliest known ancestor as my family:  Andrew Hughes, who was born near Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1755 and died in Pickens County, South Carolina, in 1843. When my Y-DNA results came back, the man in South Carolina was listed as a match for me, and I was able to work out from genealogical records that he and my father were 4th cousins. I later learned that the man, whose name was Larkin Hughes Jr., had died in 2008, so he and my father never met or even knew about each other.

Over the next several months after I got my Y-DNA37 results, I noticed several things that were a surprise to me. For example, most of the men who were listed as matches for me weren’t named Hughes, and many of them reported having earliest known ancestors in Ireland. These were men with surnames such as McArdle, McMahon and McQuillen, to name a few. I also noticed that Larkin Hughes Jr. was a member of the Clan Colla 425 null project, which is based on the theory that its members are descended from the Three Collas who ruled the Kingdom of Oriel — an area that corresponds roughly to the present-day Irish counties of Louth, Monaghan and Armagh — about 300 A.D. I joined the Clan Colla project as well after learning that my Y-DNA signature met the requirements for membership.

Finally, I noticed that my Y-DNA matches included several men named McMahon. At that point I contacted Patrick McMahon, who is an administrator for both the Clan Colla and McMahon DNA projects, and learned that my Y-DNA signature met the requirements for membership in the McMahon Project. So, I joined the McMahon project as well. I have since upgraded my Y-DNA results from 37 to 111 markers and have taken Family Tree DNA’s Big Y test, which is the most advanced paternal line test currently available.

The McMahons were the ruling chieftains over about 4/5 of County Monaghan for more than 400 years, from about 1200 until the English imposed their control over the area in the 1600s. The McKennas ruled the other 1/5. The last McMahon chieftain, Hugh Oge MacMahon, was held prisoner in the Tower of London and beheaded for his participation in the 1641 Irish rebellion against English rule. According to The Monaghan Story by Peadar Livingstone, people in central and northern County Monaghan with the surname Hughes — which means “Son of Hugh” — are considered to be probable descendants of one of the many Hugh McMahons or Hugh McKennas who lived during this era. The Monaghan Story says Hughes is also a very popular surname in counties Armagh and Tyrone.


St. Mary’s in Castleblayney — the black headstone in the foreground is for a Hughes.

I recently visited County Monaghan myself for the first time. As I walked through the graveyard at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Castleblayney, I was struck by the fact that many of the surnames from my Y-DNA and Big Y match lists — including Hughes, McMahon, McArdle and McKenna — were well represented on the headstones there.

My Y-DNA matches include men named McMahon who live in Ireland, but I don’t have any Y-DNA matches in Ireland named Hughes — all of my matches named Hughes live in the U.S. I would like very much to find one or more men named Hughes in Ireland who are a Y-DNA match for me.

Are you a Hughes male in Ireland with ancestral roots in the counties of Monaghan, Armagh or Tyrone? If so, then I hereby invite you to have your Y-DNA tested and to join the Hughes DNA Project, for which I am a co-administrator. You can do so at this link:

You will need to order the Y-DNA67 test, at minimum, in order to find out if you share the particular Y-DNA signature that I share with men in the Clan Colla and McMahon projects.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at

Obituary of John Grogan (ca. 1847-1903)

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on August 12, 2015

This obituary of my wife’s great great grandfather was published on the front page of the Streator Daily Free Press in Streator, Illinois, on Saturday, January 10, 1903.


The front page of the Streator Daily Free Press from Saturday, January 10, 1903.



Was Working in a Shaft at Kenmare, N.D.—Father of Knox College Football player.

Mrs. John Grogan received a telegram last night about 6 o’clock from her son, Anthony, at Kenmare, N.D., stating that her husband was dead and saying that he and his uncle, also named Anthony Grogan would leave for Streator tonight with the remains.

Although no particulars of the death of Mr. Grogan have yet been obtained it is thought likely that he was killed in a mine. Last September he and his son Anthony went to Kenmare to take up a land claim, Mr. Grogan’s brother following a month later. The man now dead had been a miner in Streator and he received work in that capacity as a miner at Kenmare, the son being employed as a “top-man” at the same place.

Mr. Grogan was about 56 years of age. He was born in the County Mayo, Ireland, and in early manhood was married to Sabina Brennan. In 1872, or thereabouts, the husband came to the United States and found employment on a farm in Eagle township, he being joined about a year later by his wife and their son Martin, the only child of the couple who was born in the Emerald Isle.

Mr. Grogan and family made their residence in Eagle township until 1887, when they moved to Streator to give the children the advantages which the city afforded in an educational way, the husband and father finding employment in the mines.

There were born to Mr. & Mrs. Grogan thirteen children, of whom are surviving ten—Anthony, of Kenmare of N.D.; Thomas and Patrick, of Streator; John, who is a student at Knox College, Galesburg; Delia, of Chicago, and Nellie, Joseph, James, Edward and Hugh of this city.

The first born of the children Martin died in 1896 in Sioux City, Iowa, through which locality he was then traveling. A daughter, Mary, passed away in Eagle township at the age of 9 years and a third child died in the same locality at birth.

Mrs. Bridget Grogan, mother of the children and now well up in the seventies, has made her home for a number of years with her son at 310 West Stanton street. Her husband, John Grogan, father of the subject of this sketch, died in this city about 7 years ago.

Besides the brother Anthony, of Kenmare, Mr. Grogan is survived by two other brothers, Martin and Thomas, in Ireland, and a sister, Mrs. John Forkin of West Stanton street.

The deceased at the time of his death was a member of Division No. 12, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and when he left Streator he also belonged to Local No. 800, U.M.W.of A., but it is not known whether or not he continued as a member of that organization. He carried $1,500 insurance in the Toilers’ Fraternity, but since some of the executive officers of that society merged—or attempted to merge—it with the Western Union Life Insurance Co., his family has paid his assessments to the latter corporation.

Of the surviving children of the decedent, the most widely known is John, the student at Knox college, who is an all-round athlete and is one of the best football players in the United States.