When I was young, maybe 8 or 9, my paternal grandmother told me that I was an Irish princess. She told me that somewhere in Ireland was a castle that bore the name of my ancestors, Cahir Castle.
I remember telling my friends at school that my grandma told me I was an Irish princess and yes, they laughed their little third grade faces off at me. I was devastated. But as I grew up, I realized that almost everyone in my area of the world can trace some of their lineage back to Ireland and almost all of them can link themselves to a castle or the ruins of a castle in Ireland. Didn’t matter. Some days, I still tell myself that I’m an Irish princess.
My aunt (my mother’s sister) was so proud of her Irish roots. She also had once endeavored to do a family tree of my maternal grandmother’s family. She got pretty far back, I want to say something like 8 generations and ended up with relatives in France and Ireland.
My mother’s aunt (my grandfather’s sister) did a family tree of my maternal grandfather’s side and she went back to her grandparents but not too much further than that.
When our daughter was about two, maybe three, the Husband decided he wanted the Daughter to see where she came from. I knew that my own heritage was pretty straight forward. Irish, Polish, and Italian. The Husband was more of a mix though.
He signed up for Ancestry.com and began to not only do his own family tree but also did a lot of mine. It was fascinating the things that he found. Records from churches, towns, all of the things they say you find on the commercials. It was pretty cool though.
He traced my family back as far as their countries of origin. Then, because the international version of Ancestry.com is that much more expensive, he stopped. On my father’s side, my grandfather’s parents, my great-grandfather came from Poland and my great-grandmother came from Italy. That makes me third generation American on that line.
He didn’t find out too much about my father’s mother’s family and since my father hasn’t said a word to me in over twenty years, I don’t know that I will ever get any of that information.
My mother’s mother’s family was interesting. There were things that my aunt had found and my Husband found also that said that half of the family was French. My aunt got back almost 8 generations into France before they came to Quebec and then moved to Fall River to work in the factories during the industrial revolution. Then the rest were all Irish. I am not quite sure of how far back this line went but I know it went pretty far.
The family bible from my mother’s grandmother also contains a ton of documents that go back pretty far. The handwriting is still fairly legible and contains all kinds of dates: marriages, births, deaths. There are tin photos in there too of men and women with stern looks on their faces. I still don’t quite understand why people didn’t smile then. It’s interesting to piece together these small snippets of my ancestors and to discover what is out there linking me to the past.
I can’t wait to keep chipping away at this mystery of where our family came from. A princess needs to know these kinds of things!
This post was written as part of the June NaBloPoMo. This month’s theme is Roots. Today’s prompt was “How many generations can you go back in your family? What do you know about your oldest ancestors?”