THE GENEALOGY ROADSHOW

by jdurney on December 22, 2010

The Genealogy Roadshow.

Are you a relative of Jack Dempsey?

Do you think you might be related to someone famous? Is there a family connection to some politician, entertainer, sports personality or explorer? If so, the Genealogy Roadshow wants to meet you!
The Roadshow is coming to Kildare in the new year with a day long genealogy event, filmed for RTE television, which can help you trace your family’s roots for free. The Roadshow will be hosted by RTE’s Derek Mooney and the programme tries to help ordinary people find extraordinary stories from their family history.
Was one of your relations involved in a dramatic part of local or national history? Did one of your relations do good – or bad – in America, Britain, or Australia? Maybe you believe there’s a connection to some of Kildare’s most famous. If so the Genealogy Roadshow wants to hear about it!
Their team of genealogy experts and historians are coming to Carton House in Maynooth on Sunday 16 January 2011 and their experts will be giving free advice and help. So if you have letters, photographs, birth certificates, heirlooms or any other pieces of information that might help, then bring them along to Carton House between 11 am and 5 pm on 16 January for what promises to be a day of fun and discovery.

A worthy son of Kildare

Jack Dempsey was one of the most famous boxers in the world, regarded by many as the apotheosis of the professional fighter. Known as the ‘Manassa Mauler’ he held the heavyweight title from 4 July 1919, when he knocked out reigning champion, Jess Williard, in three rounds, until 23 September 1926, when he lost a ten-round decision to Gene Tunney. After appearing in several Hollywood movies, a time as a boxing and wrestling referee and a stint in the Coast Guard during WWII, Jack Dempsey eventually became a successful restaurateur in New York City. He died on 31 May 1983 in New York. In his 1977 autobiography Jack Dempsey said,

‘The Dempseys go back a long way. Just how far is hard to say, since very few of my ancestors could read or write and births and deaths were not generally recorded. My father, Hyrum Dempsey, was a descendant of Irish immigrants from County Kildare. My paternal grandfather, Big Andrew Dempsey, was for a time sheriff of Logan County [West Virginia], as well as county surveyor. Somehow he managed to acquire several hundred acres of timberland while siring five strapping sons, of which my father was the oldest.’

Hyrum Dempsey, son of Andrew Dempsey, married Mary Celia Smoot in Logan County, West Virginia.
William Harrison ‘Jack’ Dempsey was born on 24 June 1895 in Manassa, Colorado, the ninth of thirteen children, to Hyrum and Mary Dempsey.

A search for Hyrum and Andrew Dempsey led to Geni.com which states that:

Hiram ‘Hyrum’ Dempsey, born 4 May 1857, in Logan (Mingo) County, West Virginia, married Mary Celia Smoot, born c. 1856, on 19 December 1879. Mary Celia was the daughter of Charles Smoot and Francis Greever. Hiram was the son of William Anderson ‘Ance’ Dempsey and Mahula ‘Huldie’ Blair, of Logan County. William Anderson (Andrew?) was the son of Joseph Dempsey and Alena Vance, Logan County. Joseph was the son of John William Dempsey and Rachel Solomon, Logan County and Botecourt County, VA. John William was the son of William Dempsey and Jane Dubartis/Gulliver/Meadows. 

The earliest William Dempsey baptism in Co. Kildare is in Newbridge – William, son of James Dempsey and Margaret Hyland, on 26 May 1793.

If you think you are a relative of Jack Dempsey – not to be confused with Jack Dempsey ‘the non-pareil’ – contact Karel Kiely at Kildare Genealogy at 045 448350 or genealogy@kildarecoco.ie.

Do you think you might be related to someone famous? Is there a family connection to some politician, entertainer, sports personality or explorer? If so, the Genealogy Roadshow wants to meet you!

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