Ireland Irishes Like most Americans, my family is made up of many different ethnic groups. My moms side is Irish Protestant descent. My dads side is mostly English descent and a little of Native American descent from his mother. There is some in which I do not know because my dad does not know who his dad is. He was adopted by a man named David Mitchell, this is where my last name comes from.
My grandmother died and never told my dad who his dad was. My dad could find out from his birth certificate, which is sealed in Albany, who his dad is. He has no desire to do that though. Over the summer, I tried to find out about my familys ancestry. I only searched on my moms side since it is easier. This is for two reasons, first my moms parents are still alive.
Second because they came to the United States only about one hundred years ago. Both my grandparents families came from Northern Ireland. My grandparents were born in the United States. My grandfather brought me over my cousins house because she had a copy of my great grandmothers birth certificate. This told me what town she was from.
I also found out that I had other cousins that live in Canada that were from Northern Ireland. Many Irish people immigrated to Canada because it was cheaper than going to the United States. She told me that they would have more information of family that lives in Northern Ireland. My grandfather gave me a book called ” The World Book of Craigs ” which is his last name. It gave me places to write to for further information and also gave me addresses of all the Craigs all over the world.
I learned that my grandmothers family is from Belfast and my grandfathers family is from a town called Bellymena. They are both located in the county of Antrim in Northern Ireland. They descended from Presbyterian Scots who settled in Northern Ireland in the seventeenth century. In doing further research I found that the Irish, both Protestant and Catholic, was the largest immigration group in the United States. At one point there were more Irish in the United States than in Ireland.
The Irish immigrated in two waves. The first wave was Scotch Irish from 1760 – 1775. They found it easy to sustain old world ways because they came over in such a large group. This is because they settled into towns. They were fleeing from economic distress and religious distress since Irish laws favored Anglicans over Presbyterians and Catholics.
They wanted to obtain land and to make a profit in the New World. The second wave came around 1845 – 1849. They were Irish Catholics. The reason that they migrated to the United States in such mass numbers is because first of overpopulation and then because of the Great Famine. The failure of the staple crop, the potato, caused many Irish to starve to death.
When my ancestors migrated to the United States around the turn of the century, like most immigrants they came for a better way of life. At the time in history, Ireland was slowly getting over the Potato Famine and struggling with England for independence. My family had an easy transition in the United States because they already had family in New York and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unlike Catholics which faced discrimination, my family didnt because they were Protestant. The Catholics were discriminated because of fear that the unskilled Irish Catholic would displace American craftsmen. Also because the slums inhabited in part by the Irish were undermining the nations values.
Every social problem from immortality and alcoholism to poverty and economic upheaval was blamed on immigrant Irish Catholics. The country was Protestant – biased. On my fathers side, I know very little. I have learned that my ancestry runs all the way back to the seventeenth century from England. They were one of the first people in the New World looking for wealth and opportunity. I had ancestry that fought in the American Revolution.
I also have Native American ancestry from Cherokee and Iroquois. My grandmothers last name was Partington, which is a name of nobility in England. They were loyalists. There was a Partington that died in the Civil War at the Battle of Gettysburg. There was another ancestor by the name of Terry that was a commander in the Civil War. This is all I know about my fathers family.
I think that all or most of our traditions are Americanized. We go to a Protestant church, have turkey on Thanksgiving, put a real Christmas tree up at Christmas time and get together on birthdays. Our family just does not have that many big traditions that stand out. Though on Christmas Eve we go over my parents friends house and we eat German food, even though we are not German. Bibliography Moody, T.W. (1995). The course of Irish history.
Boulder: Robert Rinehart. Vaughan, W.E. (1989). A new history of Ireland 1801-1870. New York: Oxford University Press.
Reeves, P. (1991). Ellis Island. New York: Michael Friedman Publishing Group. (1968). Encyclopedia of Ireland. Dublin: Allen Figgs.
Ernst, R. (1949). Immigration life in New York City 1825-1863. New York: Octagon Books.