my Irish, English, Scottish side

St. Patrick’s Day always gets me thinking about my Irish heritage. The funny thing is that I was brought up thinking that my father’s side of the family was all Irish, making me half Irish. Once I started doing genealogy research on my family, I discovered that my father’s side of the family was Irish, English, and Scottish. I guess no one really talked about where their families came from back then. If they did, my research would have been much easier.

I have had the most luck tracing my father’s paternal line. I won’t bore you with every detail, only a few of the highlights. If you want, just scroll down for the photos.

Dunkin (also spelled as Dunken/Duncan) was my great great great (8 greats) grandfather. He was born in 1664 in Rhode Island and lived in Barrington Rhode Island. I have not been able to determine where his parents were born. I have read accounts that he was possibly Scottish and not Irish, mostly because of his name, Dunkin. I believe his wife, Patience, was English but have no further information on her. I wonder if I could be a relative to those on the Mayflower? Dunkin’s big claim to fame was when he took over the Toogood Ferry in 1713 (I assume John Toogood who ran the ferry either died or retired – did people actually retire way back then?). The ferry’s name was changed to the our family’s name. It ran from Swansey to New Meadowneck. Dunkin’s son, John, and then his grandson, Duncan continued to run the ferry until February 1794 when the bridge (named after our family) was built.

Dunkin’s other son Captain Duncan (also spelled as Dunken/Donken), my great great great (7 greats) grandfather. He was a master mariner and moved to Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard. His son Lemuel was also a master mariner who married a woman named Bathsheba. Bathsheba’s father ran a tavern in Edgartown. When Bathsheba’s father died, Lemuel took over the tavern and named it after our family (our other big claim to fame). The next few generations continued to live in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. My great great great great grandfather, Joseph, was a block and pump maker. I am very distantly related to Grover Cleveland (the president) through Joseph’s wife, Eliza.

Joseph’s grandson, Joseph, was my great grandfather. He was a sta. engineer?/sailor on a packet boat, transporting cotton from Savannah, Georgia to Boston, Massachusetts. He was the one that left Martha’s Vineyard after the my family lived on the island for almost 200 years. If only we still had some property there. This is also where our direct line of the family stopped running the tavern that turned into an inn (named after our family) on Martha’s Vineyard.

Joseph (my great grandfather) married Sadie (my great grandmother). I don’t know much about Sadie’s family except that Sadie’s father, William, was born in England and her mother, Mary, was born in Ireland. Sadie was a devout Catholic and raised her children as Catholics. She was said to have converted her husband (my great grandfather) on his deathbed. I don’t have a photo of my great grandfather.

My great grandmother – Sadie:


On my father’s maternal side, my great grandfather, Henry was a milkman at the Whiting Milk Company. Henry’s father, Daniel was from Scotland and his mother, Mary was from Ireland. I have not has much success with his mother’s side except finding out that his mother’s name was Sarah Bullard and her parents’ names were Isaac Bullard and Mary.

My great grandfather – Henry:


henry 2
my great grandfather, Henry – standing in front of the Whiting Milk Company


My great grandmother’s name was Mary Veronica. Her father, Peter was born in Ireland. Her mother, Bridget was born in Scotland, and Bridget’s parents were born in Ireland.

My great grandmother – Mary Veronica

mary v and nana
my great grandmother, Mary Veronica with my grandmother on the left and her brother John on the right


5 thoughts on “my Irish, English, Scottish side

  1. Wow, it’s remarkable that you’ve been able to trace your family history back so far, through eight-great grandfathers! Great photos, as well!


  2. Thanks Sandra & Sandi! It has been really fun doing the research. I am glad I don’t have any of those hairdos :-) The clothes are all pretty cool. I love the belt my grandmother’s little brother is wearing the most.


  3. Can’t blame them for not caring about the direct line — there are soooo many of us.
    I also grew up assuming that I was Irish. I was told a wild story by my grandfather about the family name being changed from an Irish spelling to an English spelling because of some run-in with the law. It was an exciting story that I completely bought into, until I grew-up and did my own genealogy research and discovered it was all a lie.
    I am descended from Lemuel and Bathsheba’s son William. Our branch ended up out in the Indiana. Thanks for sharing the pics.


  4. Hello from Scotland, your surname Dunkin will be from the South of England but probably originate from Scotland. The name has no connection with Ireland.
    English vicars would use a ‘k’ when hearing Duncan or Duncin which would create the new spelling Dunkin.
    I have extensively looked into this as my surname is Dunkinson – there are no Dunkinsons in Scotland ( apart from my family which originated from Portsmouth England ) Every Dunkin and Dunkinson have been living in England since 1650 and we assume that they originated from Scotland.The difficulty is parish registers before this time were not mandidtory for the general population therfore it is very difficult to pinpoint exactly where people came from!
    Good luck in your quest ( you are definately British – English/Scottish !)
    Craig Dunkinson


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