Saint Patrick’s Day – are you Irish? On this day this question gets asked a lot and growing up in a rural farming town in Illinois most of the answers were yes! As a child, I only had to go by what my mother (Nancy Gertrude Brumley Weik) told me every year. Yes, I was Irish, and then she would tell me the stories of her ancestors. I would wear my green proudly knowing that I was among those lucky kids who did have Irish ancestors.
When I started to do genealogy research with my mother in 1983 we spent hours looking for our relatives and the only information we had to go on was looking up the census pages. The only way we could do that was to go to the National Archives in Kansas City, Missouri, and look at census pages on microfiche. We would spend hours and hours there and when we would find something we had been looking for it was like “party time”!
We had her stories which were “just stories” and then we had facts to back up the stories. It turned out that some of the stories were changed a bit over the years to fit the particular holiday. It was always fun listening to her tell these stories from her mother and her grandparents. All I could do was sit and listen and hopefully not forget them so I could pass them down the line to my daughter and her family.
Saint Patrick’s Day – are you Irish? Fast forward today – I gave myself a birthday gift a few years ago and was anxious to hear about what I was through AncestryDNA. I followed all the instructions and mailed it back to the address provided and waited for the results. My mother had already died by the time I did this test and I so wanted to tell her about this new way of discovery. It didn’t take too long to receive the results and to finally find out if all these stories passed down the line were true. I was expecting to find that I was Irish and would now have the proof I wanted to say YES I am Irish!
One day the mailman brought me the results I had wanted to hear all these years. It would confirm who I was and that it would help me in my continued research. There it was right in front of me. I studied it and looked at it again and then read about it as it was explained and then I smiled. I wished my mother was here so I could share it with her. I learned that maybe some of the Irish relatives were Irish but that only 7% were Irish. It was interesting to see the breakdown and I know more now than I did back in 1983.
The stories are still stories and something to make family genealogy fun sometimes when you have been searching for so long. I’m proud I am 7% Irish and I lift my glass today to all that love wearing their green on this day. I have one favorite Irishman that is drinking with the saints and loving every minute of it.
Enjoy this day with family and friends and hopefully, next year when we have put Covid-19 behind us we can celebrate the right way with our fellow lad and lassies.
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