Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

St. Patrick’s Day and my Genealogy

Posted by Chris on March 17, 2008

White people love to claim (their) Irish heritage. Unless their last name is O’something or they have red hair, half the time you don’t even believe them. The issue comes up a lot on St. Patty’s Day as those without Irish heritage want to join in “true” Irish celebrations of drinking green beer, etc…

Occasionally I have heard messages from groups such as an undergraduate Irish student association decrying the stereotypes of the Irish as drunkards. The Stuff White People Like blog points out the irony of a holiday characterized by excessive drinking being named for an ascetic Catholic.

You can probably tell that I feel very removed from this entire hullabaloo. I have never really cared much about St Patty’s Day and since I left high school (where I grew up, you would get pinched if you did not wear green—many times) I barely think about it. Here in Champaign, there is a big celebration but it occurs two weeks early and is called “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.” Essentially, it was created by bars, which were missing out on the student business because March 17 is always during spring break. It has grown and safe to say, the bars got their wish—they are making a lot of money on these days.

That being said, I am at least one-quarter Irish. One side of my mom’s family came from Dublin in the mid 19th Century, so I was told 4 or 5 years ago. I do not know about the other side.

My dad’s sister has recently been working on tracing the family history of my patrilineal heritage. My last name (thus, another quarter) is traced to England and a forefather was present in my county in 1790.

Is this important? I’m not sure. Some people really get into the family tree stuff. I am definitely more concerned about the future branches of my family tree (God-willing) than the roots.

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One Response to “St. Patrick’s Day and my Genealogy”

  1. Sheila Hargett said

    Some interesting information about St Patrick (at least to me it was!)
    He was born in England and captured by Irish pirates at 16, sold into slavery for 6 years in Ireland. There he wrote ” the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes…and was converted with my whole heart to the Lord my God.
    Escaped and eventually made his way back to England. Studied to become a minister and was called by God to go back to Ireland.
    He did and preached the gospel of Christ. Ministered there 30 years started 300 churches, baptized about 120,000, performed many miracles that led many to believe and it was said of him”found Ireland all heathen and left it all Christian”! He used the shamrock, symbol to teach about the trinity.

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