My family was recently contacted by my Mom's second cousin on her father's side. Now, my Mom's parents divorced when she was 2 yo and, to our knowledge, NO contact was maintained since then (1935).
Through this contact, we've learned that the grandparents and/or great-grandparents of my grandfather came to New England from Ireland in the 1840s. All of them. Which would make me think, "Hey! I'm 1/4 Irish!"
However, the primary surname is (I"ve read) Saxon, and one sentence on a website about surnames stated that the family continued on in England through the Norman invasion, but that part of this family "removed" to Ireland at some point. So this is pretty old, with lots of different spellings within the family over the years.
Is that part of the family Irish or not? At least for the people who came from Ireland, no names are "Mc" or "O'."
I figured that if Irishness is tribal/clan and not geographic, then I'm not part-Irish. Anybody know enough?
My maternal grandmother's side--grandfather from Moscow, grandmother from Palestine in the Ottoman Empire but a European name. My father's side is all from Russia or one of the Baltic States. I'm kinda getting into this search.
My feeling is this: if you have distant relatives who may have been from Ireland, lived in Ireland, etc, and you would LIKE to say you're part Irish....then you're part Irish. Hell, if you go back far enough, we're all bloody related, so if you want
to be Irish, what the hell; go for it.