The following is a re-post from last year’s St. Patrick’s Day post:
Granted, I’m only 15% Irish. The rest of me is German-Russian (35%) and English (50%). But unfortunately, there just aren’t that many German or English heritage holidays to celebrate. So it’s to St. Patrick’s Day that a turn to celebrate my ethnic heritage.
My g-g-g-g-g-g-grandfather, Michael, was born around 1775 in Ireland. He married Marianne and they had a daughter named Mary around 1799. She married Dennis Rogers (b. 1796) and they had a daughter named Margery. They all came to the United States in the 1840s, along with almost two million of their compatriots, to escape the Great Potato Famine. Margery married Michael Murphy in New York City. They moved Wisconsin where they had seven children. One of these children, Alexander Rogers Murphy, was born in 1854. Alexander married Mary Ellen O’Brien in 1884 in Minnesota. Mary Ellen’s parents (Daniel and Katherine) were from Cork, Ireland. Katherine’s parents, Jerry Daly and Kate, were born around 1805.
Alexander and Mary Ellen Murphy had four children (see photo below). Their youngest daugher was Irene Catherine Murphy, born 1895. She is my great-grandmother and is the furthest on the left in the picture. She married John Joseph Knoll whose family is of German-Russian origins.
It’s true, I’m a “white American.” But like most white Americans, I have ancestors who were immigrants to the United States. They came to escape the harsh conditions in their own country and were often subject to the same prejudice and marginalization that face today’s more recent immigrants.
So from the 15% Irish heritage that I have: Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy your corned beef, cabbage, and soda bread dinner. Or at least go out to eat at Bennigan’s.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkErOhGvL9g&feature=related – Gaelic Storm: “Black and Tans”. Disclaimer: I am neither Catholic nor a pub patron. :-)