Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Irish Name

The 13th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture features a roll call of Irish names, to which I proudly add the name DeHority.

When I first started doing research, I thought, since we spelled the name DeHority, that it was probably French. My dad, though, had always said we were "shanty Irish", suggesting humble beginnings and strength of character, and surely he was right.

The oldest research that I have on the family has our ancestor landing somewhere, somehow, in Maryland in the early 1700's. This was a George Dahorty, although his name was spelled many ways in records of the period, from Daugherty to Dagity. One of his descendants, Andrew Doherty(1774-1856), described his family's beginnings in Methodism in Pickerington, Ohio, 1812-1905 (H. E. Brill,Gayman Pub. Co., Canal Winchester, OH, 1905):

"About the year 1738, four young fellows were kidnapped on the coast of Ireland, brought to America and sold as indentured servants to pay their passage. One of these young men, George Doherty, was sold to a man who lived on the Delaware coast. He finally died there. What became of the other two is not known. George was the father of Andrew Doherty."

Well, there is no telling how much of this is true. It was probably their oral tradition at the time (and, I did notice that one of the four young fellows disappeared from the story completely). But, after researching probate and land records at the time, I believe Andrew's father was at least the third generation here when he was born about 1744.

Various branches of the family have surnames which include DeHority, Dehorty, Doherty, and Daugherty. In trying to be certain of my Irish claim, I have had my brother's DNA tested, and another DeHority from another branch has joined. Hopefully, more will follow. Our matches with others from the Doherty project at Family Tree DNA convince me I'm in the right place.

Count us as sons and daughters of the Clann ÓDochartaigh!

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