After decades of reading and rereading faded church records and analyzing the published genealogies that the late Michael Wall did for me, I'm left with no total brick walls, but more a lot of vague, fuzzy questions that still need closer scrutiny.


FIRST the irrefutable yDNA results that link Thomas Shaw of Knocknagee to the Joyce (Seoighe) family. I will not go into detail here, as this is addressed in my Introduction, and can be read there, but in a nutshell, the time to the common ancestor between my father, John Robert Shaw and the descendant of John Joyce is about 10-12 generations. This would fall within a generation or two of the first appearances of Thomas Shaw in County Kildare in the late 1700s.

Besides our families in Auburn, there has been only one other Catholic Shaw family found in Cayuga County. This family appeared a generation before our Lawrence, David, Thomas and Michael migrated here. This other family, John Henry Shaw and his wife Mary Donovan, was located in sourthern Cayuga County in the towns of Ledyard and Scipio. Their children were born in Inniscarra, County Cork. This is the same general area where the Joyce family connection is. I have not been able to locate a male Shaw descendant from this family to obtain a yDNA test for comparison.

SECOND I have serious doubts about the lineage proposed by Michael Wall as that between Thomas Shaw Sr. and the Thomas Shaw who was married to Sally Mahar, who are the first documented Shaws in Knocknagee. Naming patterns indicate that the father of Thomas Shaw, as well as most ofthe people identified as children of Laurence and Helen German Shaw should be a John Shaw.

An occasional online family tree has linked our Thomas as a son of John Shaw and Judith Doyle, but no evidence or source is given for any of these entries. Michael Wall, in his research has their son as Thomas Shaw who was married to Elizabeth McDonald.

In a video made in 1994 (see Patrick Shaw home/cemetery link inder 1994 Reunion videos) Patrick mistakenly refers to the John Shaw who is buried nearby as John Shaw husband of Judith Doyle. The man buried there is certainly John, husband of Margaret Donohue Shaw, and son of Thomas and Sarah Maher Shaw, but it is curious as to where Pat Shaw came of with the names of John and Judith Doyle Shaw. It could have been by reading Michael Wall's history, or possibly from some handed down family story.

No birth or baptismal record has been found for any of the children of Laurence and Helen German Shaw, nor any of Laurence's siblings. There are 3 Thomas Shaws found in Michael Wall's second Shaw report. Significant is that no actual birth year or date is given for Thomas Shaw of Knocknagee, who was married to Sarah Mahar (Maher) The other two Thomases were both christened in Castledermot in 1790 and 1791. One is the aforementioned son of John Shaw and Judith Doyle, and the second a son of William and Maria Shaw. This William also being a sibling of John and Laurence, all sons of Thomas Shaw Sr.

Michael Wall has used locations of the families as one of his sources for identifying family relationships and also given a theory that the name of the eldest sons isJohn because Sarah Mahar's father may have been a John Mahar, who died when Sarah was young. He has no primary source to confirm birth, baptism or marriage information for Sarah..

There is no death record found for Thomas and/or Sarah Mahar Shaw. There is a marriage for a Sally Shaw to a Pat Nolan in Tinryland in 1831,but that predates the Scully census and Griffith Valuation where Thomas and Sally are both listed.

THIRD In 2022, found the New York State Comptrollers's Unclaimed funds are two entries for an insurance policy and dividends for a Gertrude Shaw whose address is given as 76 Stich Avenue, Auburn (Auburn spelled as Auubin in one of them). These funds were turned over to NYS in 2016, which would have been the year that Gertrude would have turned 100. This is obviously Gert who lived at 76 Fitch Avenue, daughter of Lawrence and Margaret Phalen Shaw. Because she was single, the funds would have to be divided between all descendants of her two siblings, David and Lawrence Jr., In 2022 there are 20 living individuals who would share these funds, but to even find out the amounts of the unclaimed funds, there has to be an "administrator" for her estate. To do that means having to probate several estates and obtaining certified death certificates for neices and nephews. While this could be done, the expense that would be incurred apparently would exceed any funds that might be shared. While NYS would not reveal the exact amounts for the 2 accounts, a representative said that the amount would "almost certainly" be less than the $2k that would be needed to divide 20 ways. I include this information here in case the method for proving claims to unclaimed funds changes in the future.


The baptismal records for all of the children of David and Anna Souhan Shaw are recorded in St. Patrick's Church in Seneca Falls and every one gives her maiden name as Sullivan. Anna and James Souhan from Fayette, NY are definitely siblings, validated by family stories for both families and by DNA confirmation. James's civil war records say his father's name was Patrick. The handwritten record by Anna's granddaughter said that the Souhans were from Dublin, and that another brother, went south and was never heard of again.

Perhaps there was an initial attempt to Americanize the name, or the pronunciation may have sounded like Sullivan, but these entries in Seneca Falls seem to be errors. Shortly before his death in 2019, I visited Lee Shaw, a greatgrandson of Anna's, to ask him if he had any knowledge of why the name Sullivan was used. He was very weak and ill, so not able to engage in conversation more than a word or two, but when I brought up the name, and what I had found in the church records, he became very animated, shook his head, and said "No! No!" By asking yes or no questions, I was able to ascertain that he had seen or heard this Sullivan name used before and that it was a mistake. He again reinforced that the proper name was Souhan.

Patrick Souhan and Rose Foran had been chosen as the parents for Ann and James, based on dates of birth for Anna, location in Co. Kildare, and DNA matches with a few Foran descendants. However, for several reasons, I have removed them and replaced them with a different Patrick, who I think is likely the son of Walter and Ally Soughan, but I have no proof yet..

Based on naming patterns, Anna's father should be a Francis, and James's father James Patrick. Anna had no daughters to evaluate, but her brother James had three daughters, none named Rose. Initially I also had Rose Souhan as a sibling for Anna Shaw and James Souhan, but I have also detatched her from the family for the time being. Were Rose a sibling, she had a daughter Rose, but not in the order that would be expected. Her sons were Francis and then John. John would be the one expected to be her father, so that entire line and family is not really validated.

The family of Patrick and Rose Foran Souhan, shows baptisms for one son, Patrick, and six daughters. One of these daughters was a Rose, who was probably on the ship from Ireland with Patrick and Anna. and her marriage record in Kentucky gives the surname as Sullivan as well. Subsequent vital records for her children give Sohan as the correct name.

The difficulty tracing lines with online sources, is that probably 90% of the Irish church records and almost every boat list have been transcribed as Louhan, Loughan,or Lohan and it takes visualizing several pages of records to decide whether the first letter was indeed an S or L.

Realizing I had not found one baptism for a James Souhan in Dublin or in surrounding counties I started looking again, and an Anne and James Souhan were found in St. Paul's Church in Dublin, again extremely difficult to read, but parents for Anne were James and Catherine O'Neil Soughan and for James, Thomas and Mary Lynch Soughan. This.made me look closer at the famiy of Patrick and Rose Foran, and realized there was no James. Patrick and Rose did have a daughter, Rose who may be the person on the boat in 1851.

Finding a record in the NY Emmigrant Bank records giving parents and a hometown for the same Patrick Soughan who was on the Lady Hobart Ship with the Ann and Rose that I had initially attributed to Ann Honour Souhan reinforced an alternative set of parents..

The Patrick on boat list with Anne and Rose appears to be a cousin. His Immigrant Bank Account records say his parents were Walter and Mary Halligan Sohan. Walter and Patrick Sohan (husband of Rose Foran) were both in the same Balyna Parish records, so there is likely a relationship, but not a sibling one. The same Bank record for Patrick lists sisters Ann, Catherine, Margaret and Mary, all married and residing in Ireland, so no Rose there and not Ann who could be Ann Souhan Shaw, who did not marry until 1853 in Seneca Falls, NY.. Most likely Ann and Rose on the boat were sisters, but they could have been cousins as well.


Boat lists for a James Soughan (Loughan) have yielded two possibilities. The first is one is in 1848, This ship has James, 18, and John 20, Loughan. Two names above them is a Mary Shaw, 20. That name appears to be Shane, but could have been Shaw as well. Anna Souhan Shaw's husband David had a sister, Mary, who immigrated between 1842 and 1850.

The second entry is for 1851 for James 18 and Patrick 14 Loughan. Father Patrick and possible mother, Hannah. No family relationships are given so this Hannah could have been a wife, sister or sister-in-law, and the Patrick and James could be the sons of either or both.

Both of these entries meet the description of a second brother for James and Ann who went south and never heard of again.

The most likely boat list for Ann Souhan is one in Dec 30, 1849. This Ann was a chambermaid,24 yrs old traveling alone. Ann Souhan Shaw's 1855 census says she had been in Aurelius, NY for 5 yrs, her husband, David, 4. James Souhan was in Fayette, Seneca Falls in the 1860 census, but Seneca County has no surviving state censuses, so nothing to see for him in the 1855 cansus. I did not find anyone in the 1850 census for either.