Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our Roots Are Showing......

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all of you who have found your Irish roots and to those of you who are still searching. Even before I began my own family research, I knew that we had some Irish blood. When I was young, growing up in Mississippi, I would ask my mother, "Where are we from?" And my mother would always answer, "We are English, Scotch, and Irish." When I asked my father the same question, he added that (his) "Grandma told me that we have German blood." My paternal grandmother's response to my question was (her) "Papa's family was Black Dutch from Pennsylvania," and (her) "Mama's grandfather was a full-blooded Indian."

The truth is that each of their answers was, in part, true, although my great-grandmother's grandfather was not Native American. I do not have all the answers yet for this particular ancestor, but it appears that his South Carolina heritage was likely a tri-racial one that possibly included some Native American blood.

Now that I am older, when I think about the names of families in my childhood neighborhood and of my classmates from school, l realize that so many of them were Scotch-Irish names. Names that began with "Mc," or an "O" followed by an apostrophe, may have outnumbered even the Smiths and the Joneses in Mississippi during those days. With over ten years of research behind me, and with a family tree that includes the names Atwood, Baldridge, Coggins, Gibson, Meriwether, Pettus, Porter, and Ragland, it seems that my mother's answer to my childhood question was the correct one.

And now that my brother has three sons with red hair and two of my own grandchildren have beautiful red hair, I do believe that our Scotch-Irish roots are "starting to show."

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