"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke (©julenisse/Fotolia)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Search for Irish Roots That Turned Up Surprises--And Sorrow

As featured in the Huffington Post

My mother embraced all things Irish: shamrocks, soda bread and fishermen’s sweaters. She chose St. Patrick’s Day for my father’s funeral and, the night before, she mended the old green, white and orange flag so we could fly it at the house during a reception following the service. My mom could tell you the names of the villages in Cork, Kerry and Limerick where her grandparents were born, and I knew my dad’s people were from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
I’d always been told I was 100 percent Irish and I believed it every St. Patrick’s Day of my life — until now. I recently ran my DNA and the surprising results, which estimate I’m 94 percent Irish, indicate the percentage could even be as low as 81. Surprisingly, I have DNA from Finland/Northwest Russia, but I have a feeling those ancestors go so far back I’ll never find them.

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