By Fred Lynch in Norwich, Connecticut, USA


By the trunk of every family tree are saplings that we suspect are connected somewhere below. James Lynch is one of those saplings. I know a lot about him, but not where we connect. He and his wife, Margaret Collins, were both Irish immigrant—James arriving in Norwich, Connecticut, in 1857. The two married in 1859 and raised a family of six children in the Bean Hill section of the city. James worked most of his long life as a “finisher” in the nearby Clinton Textile Mill. His children joined him at the mill when they finished school. In 1864 James joined the Union Army of the Civil War – he quit 90 days later. I know also that he had a sister in town, Elizabeth, who passed away in 1903 in the Norwich Alms House (the house for the poor).

Being a Lynch in Norwich doesn’t mean we’re related necessarily, but it certainly increases the chances quite a bit. That’s not because Lynch is a rare name; it isn’t—Lynch is one of the 20 most common Irish names. I’ve tracked quite a few of my ancestors to this small southeastern Connecticut city. Actually, I can track James even closer to my family: from 1872 to 1892 when James Lynch lived in this house by the Yantic River, his next-door neighbor was Michael Lynch, my great great grandfather’s brother. The two families had children who shared some of the same names that run through the generations: John, Mary and Margaret.

Putting all my research together, I see James and his sister Elizabeth Lynch as probably my first Cousins 4X removed. What I need as proof is a record that connects their parents, James and Mary (Murphy) Lynch, to my branch of the family back in Cahersiveen, County Kerry, Ireland. Perhaps this sapling will lead to another tree tangled up with the same roots. Maybe James will lead me to my known DNA connections on the island of Valentia, across the way from Cahersiveen. There were James Lynches there, too, with relatives all around Norwich, Connecticut. The more I dig, the more I see how we’re all connected.


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