Family Stories

How Irish Are You?

What is the old saying – everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s Day?  Well how many of you actually are?  What are those Irish roots hiding in your ancestry?

According to DNA I am 20% Irish.  Doesn’t surprise me since my Irish great-great-grandmother, Lucy Murphy, was the epitome of Irish!  Evidently she shared her genes for red hair down through the years.  My paternal grandfather, her grandson, had the famous red hair, and the first question he always asked when a grandchild was born – does it have red hair?  He gloried in his children and grandchildren and I feel very blessed to have received that love for the first sixteen years of my life!

On my paternal grandmother’s side is Emeline White – my great-great-grandmother.  Two Irish ancestors on my dad’s side of the family.

On my mother’s side are John E. Smith and his wife, Ellen Lyons.  Both are of Irish heritage.  As to 3rd great grandparents, I have three that are Irish – O’Bryan, Cusick and Moran.

I was actually surprised at some of the Irish names.  White and Smith, in particular, I would not have thought Irish.  I found a list of 49 common Irish surnames and used that for some of my finds.  Here is the entire list:  Brennan, Brown, Boyle, Burke, Byrne, Callaghan, Campbell, Carroll, Clarke, Collins, Connell, Connolly, Connor, Daly, Doherty, Doyle, Duffy, Dunne, Farrell, Fitzgerald, Flynn, Gallagher, Healy, Hughes, Johnston, Kelly, Kennedy, Lynch, MacCarthy, Maguire, Mahony, Martin, Moore, Murphy (the most common of all Irish surnames!), Murray, Nolan, O’Bryan, O’Donnell, O’Neill, Quinn, Reilly, Ryan, Shea, Smith, Sullivan, Sweeney, Thompson, Walsh, White.

In the ‘wearing of the green’ we all have a little bit of Irish in us today.  Think about those ancestors – Irish or not – while enjoying corned beef and cabbage for dinner, then raise your glass and toast, ‘May your home always be too small to hold your friends, and your family tree filled with ancestors!’

10 replies »

  1. That was very cute! I really enjoyed this article. Well done! Thanks for sharing. I have been curous about Irish roots. Legend tells us our Higdon, family – Great Grandfather Thomas Jefferson Higdon II , had 6 or 7 Red Head sister’s lol ( he had black hair not white hair on his head ever , he passed in his 60’s about 1920. This line links to your Linton family, I’ve seen in your posts. I have also discover my Reece/Reese, Watson, Talley side does as well. Tina Torres or today we are O’ Torres lol

  2. Hi, If you are German, you may also be Irish. Remember, the Celts were in “Germany” before the German tribes settled there. They chased them out and the Irish went to what became Ireland.

  3. Lyons is also a name far back in my Marion Washington county heritage,as is Smith and Bartley. Brady ,my last name ,is Irish. Brady is a very much shortened name that means spirited. However,the English likened the name to mean theif,since they were forever trying to take back land that the English stole from them. However,I am proudly 50% Irish and about to drink some green beer! There are only 2 types of people in the world, the Irish,and those that wish they were! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  4. I truly loved this article. According to two reports on DNA, I am 14% Irish. My grandmother was a Kelly. I noted that Kelly is also in your line. We share a couple others, the Smiths and the Campbells, the latter from the 15th century. Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

  5. Why did I wait so long to go back and look at this? Thanks so much for the reply!
    Did some reading this week about Irish history,and though I didn’t see where they were ever primarily in Germany,they have been oppressed for over 2000 years. Certainly can see why our ancestors gave America a try! They were overwhelmed by numbers and lack of resources to arm themselves for protection. But what a beautiful place Ireland is! #1 destination on my bucket list! And my Uncle Rafe (Williams) buried at St.Charles,saw much of the world and said that no place was no more beautiful than the rolling fields of Marion county that he called Sheheey.(or something like that)

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