AN Irish genealogist uncovered a link between GOP presidential candidate Senator John McCain and an officer in King William of Orange’s army who fought Catholic King James at the Battle of the Boyne.
Sean Murphy, University College of Dublin genealogist and lecturer, discovered McCain’s link to the Battle of the Boyne while he was researching the relationship between the senator and an Irish family called the Coddingtons.
Prior to Murphy’s research it had been confirmed that McCain’s great-great-great-great grandfather Captain John Young, born in 1737, was Irish. It is believed he was born in Co. Armagh.
Murphy, who lives in County Wicklow, told the Irish Voice on Tuesday that it was only a matter of days before he discovered the link.
“When I saw the new information on Obama last week I said I’d look into McCain again and very quickly I came across the Coddington connection,” said Murphy.
“The Coddingtons were a very wealthy Irish family so they weren’t hard to find in the records.”
Murphy said he has been researching U.S. presidents and candidates going back as far as Ronald Regan and decided to delve deeper into McCain’s background to see where it went.
“As a genealogist I was naturally interested and every time an election comes up I would join in the research and see if there was the Irish angle,” he said.
The Irish genealogist soon discovered that McCain’s fifth great grandfather, Captain Dixie Coddington fought alongside William of Orange to defeat King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Documents also led to a relative of Dixie, James Coddington, who obtained the Oldbridge estate in Co. Meath from the Earl of Drogheda in 1729 where the battle took place. This branch of the Coddingtons remained at Oldbridge until the 1970s and finally sold off the estate in the 1980s.
Murphy was led to the Coddington family by U.S. researcher William Addams Reitwiesner, who discovered that one of McCain’s five great grandfathers was Dixie Coddington who was born in Skerries in Dublin in 1693 and died in Dublin in 1776. One of Dixie’s daughters, Ann Coddington, moved to North Carolina and married Richard Fenner. These became the fourth great grandparents of McCain.
Murphy said that although Senator Barack Obama also has ties in Offaly, his discovery of McCain’s history is more interesting.
“Obama’s ancestor was a shoemaker whereas McCain’s was an officer serving with King William,” said Murphy.