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Aussie Descendants of Thomas and Bridget McKenna from 1852

Updated March 15, 2012

Welcome to the McKenna Family home page. I am researching the descendants of Thomas McKenna b. c1805 at county Monaghan (parents were John McKenna and Mary McGuire/Maguire), a farm labourer, and his wife Bridget Sherry b. c1815 at county Tyrone (parents were Arthur Sherry and Mary McKenna).
They arrived in Port Adelaide, South Australia, on the 7th of June 1852 aboard the "Phoebe Dunbar" after leaving Plymouth on the 20th of February 1852. They left county Tyrone, (possibly the townland of Altadaven, parish of Errigal Trough)Ireland with their children Mary, John, Catherine, Thomas, Eliza and Joseph who unfornately died enroute and was buried at sea.
In 1852 Thomas and Bridget had another son Joseph (probably born soon after arrival) and the family had settled in Ballarat by 1854 where their daughter Rose Ann was born.
Thomas became an accomplished farmer and was the first producer to successfully grow flax in the colony and won an Port Phillip Agricultural award for his efforts.
From those humble beginnings his family has spread in to New South Wales, Queensland, the Australian Capital Territory, the U.S.A and some still live in the city of Ballarat, Victoria.
Nearly all of the information listed on this site is related to the descendants of Thomas and Bridget living in Australia since 1852.
My aim now is to find Thomas' family left behind 160 years ago in Ireland. I have some clues as to where Thomas and his family may have come from but these are very sketchy. Closely matching extant records suggest they may have lived in the Parish of Errigal Truagh, which covers both counties of Tyrone and Monaghan.
If you recognise any of the names or information on this site and you feel it is relavent to your research and mine, feel free to contact me.

I am a participant in a Y chromosome DNA study called the McKenna DNA Surname Project that can be found at:
The McKenna project is currently being co-ordinated by Georgia Kinney Bopp and Gerry McKenna from Ireland who is also a DNA participant.
The McKenna DNA Surname Project involves the Y chromosome testing of males who share the same surname. For example if your name is John McKenna and you can trace an unbroken male lineage back to a Patrick McKenna in 1850 you can participate in this study.
By comparing your test results to others in the study with your surname, you can determine if you are related.
The DNA results do not tell you exactly how you are related but will indicate if you share a common ancestor with another participant. Those results can be used in conjunction with standard research methods such as Births, Deaths & Marriage certificates etc. to prove or disprove a family connection.

This web site gives a brief overview and basic explanation of Y-Chromosome DNA Testing:

This is an open invitation to participate in this exciting study and all you need to provide is some of ‘you’ via a painless swab from the inside of your mouth (done with a small brush provided in a DNA test kit sent to you). Only males have Y-DNA, therefore female McKenna researchers need a sample from a McKenna surnamed male relative.
For more details please go to the Frequently Asked Questions (first link) and DNA Project Notes (second link) listed below.

Peter William McKenna

P.O Box 201

Lower Plenty, Victoria 3093


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