While I might have taken off the last month from my old career, it doesn’t mean that I did nothing with my time. Yes, I worked a few days on my new job, but I was also able to begin work on other things. There have been plenty of times that I have wanted to work on something but was unable to due to work. Well, this time off (albeit the worst week of sickness ever) has allowed me to work on a pet project.
What’s in a name? As Shakespeare once wrote, would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? What do our names say about us? In my final days, I tried to make my name stand for something. I finished projects and weddings with more fervor and passion than I had felt in months. I made sure that me team was altogether and working cohesively. All in all, I made sure that they could look back and see me as a good person who gave his all. After all, that’s what my name must stand for, even when people try to drag it through the mud. Arthur Miller nails that in The Crucible, with one of my all time favorite quotes.
Nevertheless, this isn’t the kind of name definition that I am speaking about. Instead, I’ve always wondered where I came from. My entire life, I was told that I was Irish-Italian from my dad’s side and Ukrainian-German on my mother’s. I’ve always wondered though…how much of this was true? Where was I from? Who the bloody hell am I? I signed up for Ancestry and fiddled around a few years ago, but I never accomplished much. I didn’t have much to go off of.
As I cheered on Mercer in North Carolina for March Madness, my aunt texted me that she was so happy we beat Duke (she’s a massive Carolina fan). I forgot she was nearby, but due to my job, I didn’t have time to go visit her between driving too and from work and the games. Sadly, I have to admit here that I hadn’t spoken to my aunt in some time, just because we aren’t that close. A few days went by, and I was just wondering what to do with some spare time. I remembered that my family had this family tree. Our copy was lost, so after reconnecting with my aunt a few weeks previously, I was able to request her copy.
It has been a crazy ride since then. I might not spend much time on computers and the internet dealing with genealogy, but I still know where to go for some research. I took my time and found really who I was (well partially).
It was weird, because I had always heard we were definitely Irish. It just didn’t make sense, because we had very little Irish traits. I dug, used the notes that I had that went back to the 1800s, and I found some interesting facts. My family was only Irish by choice, and we weren’t even Irish for very long. For you history buffs, when the English Civil War happened, many of the Protestants were chased out of the country. It just so happens that my once-militaristic (I’ll get to that) family took off for Northern Ireland to avoid persecution. Before very long, the family emigrated to the United States, where he was the first with our last name.
I was floored with what I found. It’s not like my life is a lie or anything, but the half-truth that my family had believed for so long began to unravel. We were all quite happy with my results. I can now go back and see that a thousand years ago, my family can claim we came from a small southwestern corner of Scotland called Galloway. We’re SCOTTISH!? I found a direct lineage as far back as 1056, with rumors of one into the 800s. I mean, I know we’d have to go back somewhat far, but it was amazing. I found a crest, a tartan pattern (the pattern on the kilt), and even a motto.
All in all, it’s been an incredibly journey. After all, the information was there…and I had a map to guide me. The tougher part is going to be traveling back and finding the other three sides of my family. If I really am the product of four countries (a real mutt, eh?), then I want to discover where exactly they are. After all, I’m of a mixed mind about saying I’m Irish anymore. I really should claim Scottish, shouldn’t I? Henceforth, I’m going to begin digging. I want to see where in Italy I am from (the rumor has always been Sicily). I will be the forerunner on my mom’s side of the family to do this research, so I’ll have my work cut out for me. Like always, I’ll update you guys here.