The Great Unsolved MacTighernan Mysteries & Accomplishments

1. Locate Reverend Stephen's "copybook"    He was interested in historical and Gaelic matters for which he was made a member of the Royal Irish Academy in 1884. In addition, Rev. Stephen McTernan, 1811--1906, was a member of the Societe Generale in Paris, France for which he received an annual sum of money. Reverend Stephen's personal papers were uncovered in 1907, by Rev. Charles Comey, curate of Cloonclare, Manorhamilton. The papers were found in St. Claire's Chapel in Manorhamilton. Cloonclare was in the ancient parish of Cloonloger, now included in the Catholic parish of Drumlease, Co. Leitrim.  More on his personal papers which are called the "Copybook"   Finding this may be a key to unlocking the wider McTernan family history as Rev. Stephen kept this diary from childhood.  Rev Stephen is my 1st cousin, 3 generations removed in the T Group.

2.  Understand the O'Rourke and McTernan connection in the Chapel of Creevelea as it was the traditional burial place of the McTernans of Rockfield, Mount Allen and Heapstown [and Sheskin] where large recumbent flagstones mark their final resting places. In close proximity another memorial links the families of O'Rourke and McTernan and is inscribed as follows: Here lyeth the bodye of Hugh O'Roirk and Catherine McTernan who departed this life May 22, 1721. This is the mysterious gravestone that has the symbols of playing cards, heart, spade, diamond and club along with the etching of a cat.  Tie one of the future DNA testers to The O'Ruairc of Bréifne whose family were the past kings of Drumahaire in Co Leitrim

3. Tie one of the DNA  testers to James McTernans, of the Rockfield McTernans a British naval surgeon who was in the squadron which protected St. Helena during the residence there of Napoleon, and was present on the island at the death of that distinguished, but unfortunate monarch in 1821. James was also the surgeon on a British warship in the Chesapeak Bay in the War of 1812.  In historical documents the Rockfield McTernans and the Heapstown McTernans [ Rory's line in the T group baseline ] are called kinsmen and are related.

4. Understand the meaning of the 4,000 year old Cairn   located on Rory's Heapstown family estate. What might be the connection to Rory's McTernan family who are in the T Group baseline.

5. The McTernan School: located in Waterbury, CT.  In 2005, St. Margaret's-McTernan school changed its name to Chase Collegiate School. The new name honors the Chase family, which helped to found both St. Margaret's and the McTernan School.  Charles McTernan from Foxbourgh, MA founded the school.  A male line may descend from Charles' uncle, Patrick, 1863--,  who was born in Boston.  Charles' son Donald married and lived in France having two daughters.  This family originally immigrated to the Boston area from Co Leitrim. Long shot for DNA match.

6. Jane Aloyaia McTernan, 1888--, born  in Calcutta station, Bengal, India.  To which DNA family does she belong.

7.  Thomas McTiernan, 1883--1893, died at 10 years old at the army station of Mount Abu which is a popular hill station in the Aravalli Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan state in western India near the border with Gujarat.  There is no mention of his parents in records.

8. Bernardette McTiernan, 1890--1893, most likely the sister of Thomas above.  Died at the army station of Mount Abu which is a popular hill station in the Aravalli Range in Sirohi district of Rajasthan state in western India near the border with Gujarat.  There is no mention of her parents in records.

9. Whereabouts of the McTernan Stone, an excessively heavy round stone thrown by Thomas McTernan known as Long Tom from Ardvoley, the grandfather of John-Rev in the T Group baseline. The stone thereafter was known as the McTernan Stone.  The Stone lies now in the area of Killavoggy.

10. Tirmactiernan, Co. Leitrim on the banks of the Shannon/Erne canal system in South Leitrim.  About 7.1 KM from Carrick on Shannon. Why was it named Tirmactiernan and what if any connection to any in the DNA test.

11. What might be our connection to Rathmactiernane, a townland in Killoran parish, Co Sligo listed in the Hearth roll of 1665 with Cahill McTanist?

12. A horse by the name of MacTiernan was racing in Dublin for the 2010 to 2012 season.  He is running well, previously owned by Christine Kiernan.  Why did she name the horse MacTiernan ?

13. Cathal Mac Tigernan was King of West Connacht... died 1059... which means he predates the O'Rourkes. Áed in Gai Bernaig, King of Connacht from 1056 to 1067, had invaded and conquered Maigh Seóla in 1051, blinding its king. Cathal mac Tigernán is the next ruler of the kingdom recorded upon his death in 1049.

14. Origin of the 3 ring forts in the townland of Listernan, Co Cavan and why the name which in Gaelic means Ternan's fort ?

15.  We are suppose to descend from the O'Rourks past kings of Drumahaire & the O'Conor, past kings of Ireland. So far none of the MacTighernans genetically match either The O'Ruairc or The O'Conor Don Chieftains but the T Group baseline is a perfect match to Michael O'Rourke.

16. The unfinished list of all MacTiernans who were killed or served in their country's armed services in the many wars for Freedom starting with the Leitrim Plantation Wars and ending with WW II, 

17.  Edward McTiernan from Worcester, MA had a top 10 finish in the 1909 Boston Marathon (#9) See 1909 & 1911 results at   To what DNA group might he belong ?

18.  Potential but undocumented link of the Heapstown and Rockfield McTernans to the Sligo O'Conors, past kings of Ireland

Solved or achieved so far

19.  The McTiernan Seat since 1991 is an engraved bench in front of The 300 year old Powerscourt Arms Hotel in Co Wicklow The hotel was owned by Charlie McTernan, 1955-, until 2008 who is in the T2 DNA Group

20. The pamphlet written in 1845 by James MacTernan, <1815--1855, of the Mount Allen [Co Roscommon] McTernans that settled at Heapstown, in Co. Sligo entitled "An Address to my Fellow Countrymen", in which James claimed descent from Tiernan O'Rourke, Prince of Breffni. Found by John C. McTernan.  This James McTernan also invented a new breed of horse called the Buckshot Chestnut.  This is Rory MacTiernan's family in the T Group baseline.

21.  The McTernan Street in Cambridge, MA, USA formerly Lake St. right outside of County Boston, named after WW II vetran, William
Francis, -1944
.  This is Myles McTernan's family: Te DNA Group

22.  McTernan Road, Tinderry, NSW, Australia 2626: is named after the pioneering McTernan family of the area, descending from Hugh and Mary McTernan of Michelago of which Scott (AU) & Richard descend in the Ta DNA Group

23. Origin of McTernan Place, Worrigee, NSW, Australia 2540: is probably named after Barney McTernan [below], Hugh's son who lived down there and had a stagecoach business of which Scott (AU) & Richard descend in the Ta DNA Group

24. Barney McTernan, being one of the stagecoach founders is now a major character in the book, "Coachmen of the Nowra District" in Australia.  Scott (AU), Margaret & Richard in the Ta DNA Group relate to Barney.

25.  Gwladys McTernan Park, named after the mother of Richard in the Ta DNA Group, a park in Naracoorte, South Australia, Australia,

26. Origin of McTiernan Close, Wilsonton, QLD, Australia 4350: probably named after Sir Edward McTiernan who relates to Leo McTiernan in the T3 Group baseline

27.   McTiernan Way, a road in downtown Minto named on 9-2-2013 by the Village of Minto, New Brunswick, Canada after the long history of the family in fire prevention.  This is Michael (CN)'s family in the T DNA Group.

28.  Bartholemew E. McTiernan, 12-11-1877--12-6-1917, born and died in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  Bartholemew, his mother Margaret Gilroy and his wife Frances Caroline Gough were all killed in the famous Halifax explosion which was and still is the largest man made explosion after the atom bomb.  Bartholemew is the great grand uncle of Greg McTiernan in the T2 DNA Group.

29. Lac McTiernan, a lake in Quebec, Canada, a 7 hour dirve north of Ottawa and 5 hours north of Montreal.  Lac McTiernan was named after William McTiernan born in Bryson, Canada.  He worked for the Canadian International Paper Company in the early 1930s.  To find out more about the man and his father, David McTiernan, both worked in the back country of Gatineau River, read the following book, particularly chapters 14 and 15, Crawford, Venetia, et Gunda Lambton.  The Wildest Rivers -- the Oldest Hills; Tales of the Gatineau and Pontic, Maitland, Ontario.  Canadian International Paper Company may have been bought by E. B. Eddy Company.  The family had a home in the Mason Lumber camp operated be the E. B. Eddy Company. 

A second historical opinion on "McTiernan lake" in the Gatineau hills which may not necessarily be named after a man that lived in Bryson by the name of William McTiernan, as Venetia Crawford explains in her book. William was the 2nd cousin, 2 generations removed of Thomas John McTiernan. Tom, was born and raised in Bryson, Quebec, but this "McTiernan lac" was named by him as a joke!

Tom worked in cartography for Energy, Mines and Resources for 35 years. In the late 70's he and his buddy Dan Lacelle came across quite a few "un-named" lakes in the Gatineau's.  They thought it would be funny to name some lakes after themselves. I would have probably believed Venetia Crawford's story if I would not have found this pamphlet on the internet. Now - what are the chances that this hunting and fishing lodge is situated on the McTiernan and Lacelle lakes? Tom and his buddy Dan (and probably another 5 or 6 guys) used to go fishing together all the time in those days.  However, it is a surprise that the names stayed and that these lakes are now known as the McTiernan and Lacelle lakes.  The Lac some time ago.  This is Maggie's & Thomas' family in the T Group.

30. McTernan Colour of the Year  This award is conveyed in honour of Irene McTernan, former Edinburgh University Sports Union Administrator (1980-2011), and awarded to the most outstanding individual for exceptional and sustained service to the organisation, delivery and/or administration of a University Sports Club or EU Sports Union.  Colours are approved by the Blues and Colours Committee This award is confined to University of Edinburgh students and was introduced in 2011 to mark the retirement of Mrs McTernan after 31 years of dedicated service to EU Sports Union.  Her husband, Alllen is in the T DNA Group baseline.

31. Maria McTernan Leadership Award is given annually by the Charles River Center in County Boston, MA to the most deserving person who has assisted in their support of programs and services for over 950 children and adults with developmental disabilities.  Maria was the Chief Development Officer for the Center.

32.  Anita McTiernan, from Drumahaire has volunteered almost 20 years at the Mutomo Hospital in Kenya helping the hungry and poor.  If you can please send a donation via Western Union to Anita McTernan.  Please let Anita know that you have donated and also send the tracking number to  Anita assures me that unlike many charities every coin donated is used directly on the kids.

33.   Liz McTernan, Paralympian and Iron Man world record holder Liz McTernan is looking for sponsorship support to enable her to continue to achieve success at the highest level. Earlier this year Liz became the handcycle world champion at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. She became only the second female wheelchair athlete to ever finish the Ironman World Championships and she now holds the course record for fastest time.  Liz is in the T7 DNA Group. Read more at:

34. Maddie McTernan of  NSW, Australia is competing in the swimming events in the ParaOlunics and doing very well with 5 gold medals.

35.  Sarah McTernan, is the daughter of Sined McTernan and the niece of Paul-C McTernan in the T3a DNA group.   Sarah McTernan  represented all of Ireland at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May, 2019.  She came third in series four of The Voice of Ireland in April 2015.

If anyone has any information on any of the remaining unsolved mysteries above please let me know

Send E-mail to

Return to MacTighernan DNA