Am I part Irish or not?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by propita, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 9, 2001
    fresno, ca, us
    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.
  2. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 20, 2009
    It was very common when some families came to America from Europe that they slightly (or more) changed the family name to be more "anglo-saxon." So having a saxon name doesn't mean you're not Irish.
  3. gturner

    gturner Admiral

    Nov 9, 2005
    The Irish insist that all those American tourists with names starting with Mc and O are not Irish - they're Americans with Irish ancestry. So the quickest way to figure out if your Irish is to check who issued your passport.
  4. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Nov 19, 2008
    Planet Carcazed
    This may not be what you want to hear, but hey. That never stopped me before.

    Ancestors on my dad's side came here from Ireland in the late 1800s. Ancestors on my mom's side came from Scotland about the same time. Through the last century they married other immigrants and into various Indian tribes.

    So here I am, at 50+ years old, a mix of European and native blood. I could probably be on multiple tribal rolls and get all the foofaraw that goes with it,, but it makes no difference to me.


    Because I'm an American. That's all that counts.
  5. Finn

    Finn Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 30, 2006
    Kelly and Ryan are two examples of Irish surnames without a Mc or an O' :lol:

    Either does Meaney :)

    My mother's side of the family are full of Irish surnames without either one :)
  6. propita

    propita Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 9, 2001
    fresno, ca, us
    Thanks, all!

    The biggest surprise in all of this was that my grandmother, who was very Jewish but definitely NOT the traditional "Jewish grandmother," had married a non-Jewish man. And complained when all three of her grandchildren married non-Jews.
  7. Avon

    Avon Commodore Commodore

    May 7, 2010
    just as long as you're not one of those americans whose ancestors were actually english, but insist they're part irish or scottish due to embarassment
  8. Ar-Pharazon

    Ar-Pharazon Vice Admiral Premium Member

    May 19, 2005
    Some of mine have to be English. My most distant ancestors came to Britain from Denmark in the 6th or 7th century. Then, they didn't come to North America until around 1650.

    Had to be a lot of intermingling in 1000 years. I mean, they didn't have back then. I know of at least one Welsh woman.
  9. auntiehill

    auntiehill The Blueness Premium Member

    Feb 7, 2006
    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.
  10. thestrangequark

    thestrangequark Admiral Admiral

    Aug 8, 2006
    Brooklyn thestrangequark
    Are you sure you didn't just make this up?

    Anyway, out of curiosity, why do you care if you have distant Irish relatives? I mean that as a genuine question, not as sarcasm -- I just never really understood what drives people to do the whole genealogy thing. I mean, on the grand scale of evolution it's pretty cool: If you do the math, going back about 5,000-15,000 years every single one of us alive shares a common ancestor, back through the apes and the shrew-like mammals and the reptiles and the fishes to the first living organism that emerged from the muck. I mean, that's just really fucking cool! But knowing that there must've been some Irish or Scots somewhen amongst my forebears doesn't really do anything for me other than to account for my ginger rug.
  11. Kestra

    Kestra Admiral Premium Member

    Jul 6, 2005
    I consider myself American, first and foremost. I was born in the US and have lived here my entire life. But I also think it's interesting to know where I've come from and who my ancestors were. I don't know much because there hasn't been a lot of history passed down, but I like speculating sometimes. I wonder how far back I'd have to go to find someone who wasn't 100% Indian.
  12. Miss Chicken

    Miss Chicken Little three legged cat with attitude Premium Member

    Jul 23, 2001
    Howrah, Hobart, Tasmania
    I can't speak for others but I know that I have learnt a great deal about history and geography while researching my family history.

    For example - one of my ancestors was born in Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye. His father was a stone-mason who worked on the castle. The castle is the seat of the Clan McLeod and is the longest continously inhabited castle in Scotland. My ancestor actually called his property in Australia "Dunvegan".

    I am also a descendant of the Stewarts of Appin. This has lead me to research the long lasting feud between those Stewarts and the Campbells.

    Another ancestor came out of the Second Fleet which has lead me to doing quite a bit of study on the first 20 years or so of white settlement in Australia.

    Quite often geneological research has led to me researching the history of the common people which I have found more interesting than the history I was taught at school.

    I have Irish ancestors who seem to have been Quakers. My ancestor Ann Gore was born in Turlough, County Mayo, Ireland in Dec 1814 and died in Red Range, New South Wales in July 1913 (aged 99 years 7 months) and she is my longest lived ancestor.

    On my mother's I am descended from free settlers (NSW and Queensland), on my father's side mainly from convicts (NSW and Tasmania).
  13. RJDiogenes

    RJDiogenes Idealistic Cynic and Canon Champion Premium Member

    Jun 11, 2003
    RJDiogenes of Boston
    This is how I feel. Countries and tribes are social constructs. Families are genetically linked. Genealogy is interesting because it's about individuals and history. My grandfather was born in Ireland, and his story is interesting to me, but I was born in Boston. I also have recent ancestors from England and Norway. I feel no special connection to the cultures of Ireland, England or Norway-- my culture is the United States of the Groovy 60s-- but I can claim Irish, English and Norwegian ancestry.
  14. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    the Frozen Wastes
    Since English is the principal language in America, there's no getting away from it, is there?
  15. scotcat

    scotcat Ensign Red Shirt

    Oct 19, 2012
    West scotland
    My great grandfather came to Scotland from Ireland at the age of 14 in 1914. I'm proud I have Irish ancestry, but first and foremost I'm Scottish.

    I think it's brilliant to know where you came from and to know your family history (we've been able to take my mum's family tree back to the early 1700's), but that shouldn't change who you are now.
  16. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 21, 2011
    The Black Country, England
    At least one of my great grandparents were Irish from Cork/Kerry. It's interesting, but I'm English.

    You're American.

  17. flandry84

    flandry84 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jun 24, 2007
    Sunshine cottage,Lollipop lane,Latveria
    I think that the op is asking whether or not they are "genetically"Irish.
    Well sorry,but there is no such thing as an Irish race.
    We(and I am Irish,living in Ireland)are as much a mongrel race as any other with Viking,Anglo-Saxon,Norman,and Celtic(whatever that means)blood.(Celts are either from the Iberian peninsula or central Europe,depends on what you believe.Maybe genetic groupings and markers will answer that question).
    Take a quick gander at the names on for example the Irish rugby or soccer teams...a complete mix and match of both Irish and English sounding surnames.Surnames don't define heritage.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013
  18. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 9, 2008
    I was born in Wales but I'm English.
  19. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2008
    I agree with flandry, the Irish are mongrels. Saxon certainly isn't a common surname here, and almost certainly came here from England, but English settlers were common in Ireland for centuries and there was an eventual mingling of cultures that led to what is considered Irish today. By the mid-19th century, the traditional Irish tribes and clans weren't really an element or Irish society any more.

    Just don't act like a plastic Paddy and we'll be cool. :)
  20. Deckerd

    Deckerd Fleet Arse Premium Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    the Frozen Wastes
    Scots, on the other hand, are purebred. Thoroughbreds, you could say.