Last year I was lucky to get reconnected to several first cousins that we hardly knew about, much less met.

Tierney siblings, Jamaica, NY circa 1929

Tierney Siblings: Michael, Sabina and John, Jamaica Queens, 1929

The short short version of the story is that my grandfather John Tierney (sounds familiar) married Sabina Gilroy and had four children. Sadly, he lost his wife and 3 year old Winifred in the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic in New York.

The next year he married my grandmother May and several years later they had my father. By all accounts their marriage was stormy and not good for the kids. After my grandfather died in 1935 the family drifted apart and my father apparently had very little contact with his brother and two sisters. (All half siblings to him.)

More than a dozen years ago I started to get interested in genealogy, but worked at it sporadically. However, I kept adding to my findings and kept them on an Ancestry tree that was discovered last year by my father’s brother’s grandson’s wife. (Got that?)

* John Tierney’s Marriages | (1892 – 1935)
** Sabina Gilroy (m. 1912) | Annie (b. 1913) | Winifred (b. 1915) | John (b. 1916) | Sabina (b. 1918)
** May Egan (m. 1919) | Twins (b. and d. abt 1923 ) | Michael (b. 1927)

Well, since then it has been a whirlwind. I’m very glad to have caught up with them as well as cousins from the other sections of my family and hope to continue to do so. Last month I was able to meet one of my first-cousins, Bob, in person for the first time, which was wonderful – the son of my Dad’s sister Sabina.

Now, the reason for this post – cousin Bob is Irish on the side we share and Croatian on his father’s side, from a place called Prvic Sepurine.

Prvic Luka Overview Map I have also been working on my wife’s side of the tree, which represents a good chunk of the United Nations in its diversity. According to census documents, her great grandfather Nikola Jareb came from Dalmatia, and an unsourced tree that was shared with us mentions a place called Prvic Luka.

Prvic Luka Detail Map Looking both locations up on the map, I was surprised to find Prvic Sepurine and Prvic Luka are just a stone’s throw from each other on a small island off the coast.

Well, that was neat and noted, but it just got more interesting. As I scanned the Internet trying different surname spellings I came across a WWI draft record for a Marko Yareb. It seemed like a good chance the surname could be a mis-writing (or hearing) of “Jareb” so I search specifically for his name. I eventually found an online tree with a Marko Jareb and I sent off a note to the owner describing my search and suspicion on the surname.

I heard back from the tree owner who verified that he had indeed just found a connection between his ancestor Marko and my wife’s great-grandfather Nikola and that he and she were likely 3rd cousins.

Popis Dusa Header He also considerately shared a scanned document of various handwritten notes, ancestor tables and family records. Just about entirely in Croatian, but very decipherable with time.

Jareb Ancestor Table Detail So last night, I had a little time and I looked through the document more carefully – Lo! and Behold! About five generations down the line in the Jareb ancestors table are people with the surname Cukrov.

So, looks like pretty good chances that my Irish cousin Bob is also my wife’s Croatian cousin Bob.
Love it.


  • avatar

    Comment by Smallest Leaf — June 3, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

    …and maybe with a little more research we’ll discover that I’m your cousin, your wife’s, and Bob’s, too!

    Lisa (the Irish/Hungarian/Croatian family history blogger)

  • avatar

    Comment by John — June 4, 2011 @ 12:42 am

    Ha! Sure can happen at this point! If you are on 23andme we should share and see if anything matches. (I’m JJT.NY on that site.)

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