March 17, 2015

Kiss Me, I'm Irish!

In honour of St Patrick's Day, when tradition has it that we all want to be Irish, I really AM of Irish heritage. 50.2% according to my DNA results. (Well okay that's a combination of British and Irish but I'm going with it anyway)

John Greenlees and his wife Elizabeth Johnston came from Fermanagh Ireland to the wilds of Upper Canada (present day Ontario) with three children - George about 5 years old, Thomas about 3 years old and my 2nd great grandmother Jane who was under 2 years old. The year was 1819. What a perilous journey that must have been!

Joseph McGinnis and his wife Frances (Fanny) Downey made the journey from famine stricken Co. Down Ireland with their year old daughter Bridget (Delia) in 1846. They were both barely 20 years old.

It must have been a nightmare voyage and I am sure that like most of the Irish who left Ireland during the Famine Years, they and their loved ones suffered greatly at home. Joseph and Fanny arrived in Ontario and settled near family who had arrived much earlier. They were my 2nd great grandparents and sadly I know nothing of their parents or origins other than learning last year that they came from the area of Katesbridge, Co. Down Ireland. They were very poor Catholics and the land they settled on was more swamp than anything else.

So - I have three Irish great-great grandparents (Joseph, Fanny and Jane) and two Irish Great great great grandparents (John & Elizabeth). Out of that mix I get four Irish surnames: Greenlees, Johnstone, McGinnis & Downey.

I hope this Irish blessing worked for them! "May you be in heaven a full half hour before the devil knows you're dead."

1 comment:

Colleen G. Brown Pasquale said...

I had one Irish grandparent; 25% Irish but on St. Patrick's Day it feels like 100%! Happy wearing of the Green!