St. Patty’s Day Greeting!

So my kids have an Irish ancestor–through their mom–who was born on none other than St. Patrick’s day.

Ellen Ryan, a 4th great-grandmother to them, was born March 17, 1833 in Galway. She came over to this side of the pond, married a fellow Irish (one Mr. Peter Maloney) where she’d settled in Louisville, Kentucky, and died there in 1911.

And here we have the map of Ireland showing the general point of origin of my kids’ Irish ancestors.

The Leprechauns came to my house two years ago on St. Patty’s Day, leaving unspooled rolls of microfilm all over the place that also happened to lead to little stacks of treasure for each kid. Well you can bet they were pestering me to do whatever was necessary to ensure that the little pests would return this year! (Cuz don’t ya know my kids loved the mayhem!) So indeed they returned, turning my house inside out, etc. My daughter then went about setting up a Leprechaun trap for next year. All good fun.

Well then later the next day as I’m researching some of my wife’s Irish ancestors I come to find that one of her 3rd great-grandmothers — lady named Ellen Ryan, from Galway — happened to have been actually born (back in 1833) on March 17th! What’s more, her father was a shoemaker! (Leprechauns’ story is that they were shoemakers). The kids still loved it when I told them.

On the Point of Origin Map

You’ll find six big dots indicating these locations, along with a surname and a year (and an arrow to make it bleedingly clear). The years refer to the year of birth in the referenced vicinity of the person or persons who later departed the green isle. Places, names and dates in red indicate people in my background, while those in green are from my wife’s side.

Campbell 1775 – Londonderry, Derry ~ Alexander Campbell, my 4th great-grandfather, presumably of Scottish derivation as part of England’s intentional populating of Northern Ireland in the 1600s, nonetheless, he seems to have been born around Londonderry. Based on historical context, it’s thus highly likely his parents and grandparents were as well, transplanted from Scotland. He and possibly an as-yet-unknown wife went to the newly independent USA in the 1790’s, joining a large pod of other Scots-Irish in what we know today as western Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He is my mom’s direct, male-lineal ancestor.

Rourke 1821 – Newry, Down ~ Owen Rourke, another of my 4th great-grandfathers (of which we all have 32, along with 32 4th great-grandmothers), his daughter Bridget married one Patrick Coughlan (probably born in this area as well, although much research is still needed), and the whole bunch moved to Liverpool by 1842 (when Thomas Cochlin was born there, son of Patrick and Bridget, grandson of Owen, and gr-gr-grandpa to me.) Particularly interesting is the fact that these folks are all on my dad’s side (my dad was born in Liverpool), but it seems that what can be inferred is that in the year 1780 or so, my mom’s namesake ancestor (Alexander Campbell) and a few of my dad’s ancestors were living all of 50 miles (80 km) from each other in Northern Ireland. Funny!

Garvey 1843 – Roscommon ~ Winifred Garvey, daughter of a John Garvey, was born here. She married the Thomas Cochlin mentioned above. Their life together was, again, in Liverpool, where their daughter Sarah married a fellow named John James Dunn, whose parents (and grandparents) hailed from Wicklow (see next). John and Sarah were the parents of my dad’s dad.

Dunn 1844 – Wicklow ~ Edward Dunne was born there that year, as were his parents, Peter and Ellen Welsh, in 1818 and 1819, respectively. They all went to Liverpool together in the 1860s. These last ones are my dad’s people. Edward’s son John J. Dunn married (in Liverpool) another child of Irish immigrants to the ‘Pool, and their son, also John J, pure Irish, was my grandfather. But since he was a mean and cruel man, we’ll move on and just ‘tank ‘im fer dem Irish genes!

Happy Irishness to you for St. Patrick’s 2015. (And happy 182nd, Ellen Ryan Maloney!)


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