March 17, 2017
A few years ago I started researching my genealogy. I'd planned to save this endeavor until after I retired, but the universe put a distant cousin in my path. She shared what she had on my maternal grandmother's ancestry. To my complete surprise, I actually have a smidge of Irish blood to go along with the German.
This distant cousin's grandfather was a brother to my great-grandmother. She traced that branch of the family back into the 1600s in Ireland. It's fascinating.
My German ancestry is rather well-documented. A member of the family made the ancestry of our shared last name her life's work. I have three thick professionally printed volumes that trace us back to Germany in the 1500s. It's fascinating. My seven-times great grandfather arrived in Philadelphia in October of 1751 and, like so many others from Germany, settled in the area where I live.
So having a bit of Irish blood is something new to me. I'm not sure how, have come lately to this, how I should celebrate. Certainly I should wear something the proper color of green, but green isn't a color my winter coloring wears well. I do have a black scarf with shiny green leaves on it - it must suffice.
I don't often consume large amounts of alcoholic beverages, but maybe I'll have a fancy root beer at the bowling alley tonight. Rainbows are a part of my world, but never once have I found a pot of gold at the end. Four-leaf clovers? Nope. Not in my yard.
But when I look back at those who came before me, I read wonderful story after wonderful story given to me by the distant cousin. Through her I know the names of my great-great grandparents. Not even my mother knew their names. I have copies of newsletter clippings and death certificates. I have pictures of my Grandma Mary when she was a child. I even have photos of her mother. Part of me rails that this information came to me from a stranger and not my mother and grandmother, but most of me is beyond grateful.
So how best to celebrate my Irish heritage? First off, I'm not going to embarrass my living relatives. After that, all bets are off.
Oh, who am I kidding? I'm going to enjoy my bowling night and then go home and go bed. My dog doesn't care I'm twenty-five percent Irish and seventy-five percent German. To him, I'm one-hundred percent wonderful as long as his food dish is filled twice a day. And I think that's as much as I really need to be.
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