A Writer's Journey

March 17, 2014

Seeking My Irish Roots

Filed under: off topic — mackenziew @ 4:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

It’s a day for everything Irish. Or at least, that’s what it’s become over the years. And as they say, everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day.

But I’m of Irish descent on my mother’s side. We have a St. Brigid’s cross over our door. It was used when Christianity was illegal. People could have the cross up but when the authorities came over, they could turn it into a mat.  Quite clever, huh?

There’s a lot I don’t know about my mother’s family tree. I know my grandmother’s family came from the County Meath. And we think my grandfather’s might have come from the County Cork. But we’re not sure. We’re not close with my grandfather’s side of the family so that source of information is not readily available. There aren’t any (known) relatives on my grandmother’s side to ask about her family either.

So I decided to turn to Ancestry.com. It’s helped…somewhat. I’ve definitely realized it’s better if you go in with a lot of information than trying to find the information. But it gave me some clues. On my grandfather’s side, mostly. I was able to track him back to his grandparents and then a great-grandmother, who came over to America as a child about 1852. Which does correspond to the Great Famine.

Because today’s St. Patrick’s Day, Ancestry.com gave everyone free access to Irish records. So I took advantage of it. I discovered the relative I discovered—the one I talked about in the paragraph above—came from the County Carlow, from a town called Tinryland. A town, which I learned, Walt Disney’s ancestors also once called home. There’s a (very slight) chance I might be related to Walt Disney! And if you read my earliest posts, you know I count him as one of my role models.

I’m still trying to find more information about my grandmother’s side. But from what I have learned, I can also trace some of my roots on that side to the County Roscommon as well. The archives are open until 11:59 PM tonight, so I’m going to keep searching as long as I am able. I’m learning so much as it is, getting steps closer to being able to name places I have connections to: Sparta, Lemnos (okay, those two aren’t Irish. They’re Greek—my father’s side), County Meath, County Roscommon, County Carlow, and County Cork (? –Still have no official confirmation about that).

Wish me luck!

And Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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