My Irish Blood

After many years of searching for my Irish ancestry, I have many names, but fewer places. Without visiting Ireland, and connecting with flesh and blood relatives here and abroad, my trail grows stale.

It’s time to be Irish, and not pursue.

Ireland explains my poetic, lyrical nature, my love of Celtic music, my father’s wicked sense of humour, my flash of temper, good looks (hey!), and dreamy love of the coastal worlds and spirit worlds, the “thin places” of my homeland within. I can’t escape it. It is as near to me as my nose!

Rather than try to find my Irish roots, I am becoming them. Claiming my inner and outer reality, not by DNA, not by the relatives I have found, nor the hypothetical places I have traced with my hand on a screen leaning over books too long. No, Ireland has been with me all along.

images

My heart sings and my imagination dreams,

The romantic singer, free bourne spirit leaping and dancing

The marvellous look on my face when you’ve struck my last nerve

The sound of my feet on the ground, the way they don’t quite touch 

As I am always “somewhere else” eyes far off 

Sounds, plays, movies, foods, music, laughter, cabins in the wood

Stone houses alongside craggy lanes

It’s all me

I haven’t changed a bit!

I will find you one day

Like a dog chasing its tail!

You are mine, you are the beating of my mind and heart

My love of nourishing soul food in teary conversation

Lost in each other’s bright faces

Life! a parade of sparkling waywardness

That always leads me home

Loving, laughing, feeling, smiling,

Tapping, mimicking, greeting, hugging,

Spilling a mug or two

A jig, a halt, a saunter, a milieu

Pubs and sea food

Black ale known as stout and hearty stew

I may eat veg but my soul goes back to the earth  

The fire and the salt and the sweet smell of the hearth

Ah God, you are my distant refuge, and as near as a dear friend to me.

 

Published in: on December 22, 2019 at 4:15 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Luck of the Irish! AncestryDNA Results

Well, the verdict is in. I’m Irish. After waiting for 3 weeks, my AncestryDNA results arrived via a message from an AncestryDNA Relative who is definitely a 3rd cousin, on my father’s side from the Palmer/Boyles line.

But the most exciting thing was seeing the chart below and having to do a double take on the ethnicity percentages:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 3.42.55 PM

I’m not only Irish, I’m 57% Irish!  I thought that would be impossible, that my father’s side who had both Irish and English roots would dissipate my results to maybe 23% if I was lucky, but it turns out I’m IRISH Lucky – over half! And that’s an average. Some of my DNA strands or markers tested as high as 71% Irish, while others were a lower 41%.  So I’m “above average” Irish at 57% and quite happy to see my Irish roots declared in writing based on scientific evidence.

Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Screen Shot 2017-07-06 at 4.10.28 PM

(Note: Europe West includes German/France/Netherlands and Scandinavia includes Norway, Denmark and Sweden.)

Also astonishing was that I had about 18% French/German and over 17% Scandinavian! My Norse roots may come through my mother’s Scottish line, as the Anderson/Andersen  clan may have come over with the Vikings. These are also averages, and can be lower or higher depending on the DNA strand/marker they are testing.  For example, Scandinavian tested anywhere between 1% to 33% depending on the strand/marker; the average helps us know overall just “how much” of our genetic make-up is from that region overall.

My motivation for doing all of this was to find my Irish ancestors and living cousins. I have already found many potential cousins, and I am quite amazed how AncestryDNA has managed to match them to my family tree on ancestry.com with specific matching surnames and in some cases actual common ancestors.

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship… And, this will make my Moore “plus” family reunion a whole lot bigger!

It feels good to be Irish.

Thanks AncestryDNA!

Krista

Keeper of the Flame

I am cross-pollinating today… this is my blog re-posted from “Little Book of Miracles” which continues the story…

I am back from Kingston, home of my birth, and feeling quite reflective on what I found there…  Not only did I find my grandmother in a new hospital by the lake, doing relatively well (see Let Sleeping Lions Lie);  I found myself with my mother, and countless photos and letters dug up among boxes and boxes of stuff in my grandmother’s sun-porch…

In these boxes, we found my great-great grandparents Lawrence E. Moore and Emma Belle Deacon staring out from their front porch rockers in Haileybury…

…and their seven daughters (my great aunts), girls and women in tranquil Georgian-style dresses lounging on the front swing with flowers in their hair, or leaning with snowshoes and warm-mittened hands against the family’s seemingly chicken-wired fence;  my gr-great grandmother Emma standing solidly with her youngest one wrapped around her skirt, she looking quite tired but still strong in the heat of days… and another where she smiles brightly to camera, which delighted me beyond measure.

Moore women in Cobalt

These are The Moores I had always wanted to know: to play cards with at the dining room table (which is now in my mother’s dining room); to tell stories with, to laugh with…  I see Emma playing the  mouth organ (which is now in my grandmother’s hall closet); I hear their old Irish twang and crazy war-time songs (I shall never repeat them here – we were Protestant Northern Irish, if that says enough).

I feel I know them. I am bonded to them. I am proud to be one of them. I see myself in their tall languid frames, the way they hold their hands, tilt their heads, play to camera. The Moore Women.

I am a part of a long, and timeless heritage of self-assured women. Of strength. Of beauty. And of rebuilding. Death after death has taken them. But their faces tell me another story; they are still here, in my blood and in those whom I love now.

My grandmother had protected and shielded these treasures for years and years. She didn’t have the heart to go through them, or dispose of anything. I’m glad she didn’t. I’m glad I had the opportunity with my mother to get on my hands and knees and know this family I inherited.

The details won’t matter so much. The garbage bins will go out; the trinkets will disappear. But their eyes, their hands, their laughter and their tears will never go out in me.

Me in my red boots in Nanna’s backyard

 I am blessed to be here, the Keeper of the Flame.

A Mirror Up to Nature

There is so much to contemplate lately, I hardly know where to begin!  It started, let’s say, with a visit to Picton last week. Harmless enough. I was going to a talk given by a professor, Dr. David Warrick, on one of my ancestors, Dr. Thomas Moore, who lived in Picton over 150 years ago – along with a young wannabe lawyer of 19, John A. MacDonald (before the “Sir”).

Dr. Warrick would be uncovering the history-making first trial of Sir John A. MacDonald in Picton in 1834, in this public lecture on April 20, 2011, followed by a paper he intends to publish by the University of Toronto press in 2012. The MacDonald project, of which he is the chair, intends to erect a bronze sculpture (created by the noted sculptress Ruth Abernethy) of Sir John A. MacDonald at the age of 19, in front of the very courthouse this historic event took place.

In a previous post I told you that my great grand-uncle, Dr. Thomas Moore of Picton, was accused of punching Sir John A. in the nose.  Well, the two men went to trial, and Dr. Moore, my noble ancestor, lost, at a cost of six shillings.  I thought it a charming story. No shame to me, certainly.  No shame to him, either. He continued to be a great doctor in town for 44 years, and, well, Sir John A. went on to be the first Prime Minister of Canada. No harm done.

So what does it all mean? I ask. Why do we eat it up like candy, the stories of our past? Why do we delve into history books (at least the people reading this blog who have an interest in such things, a passion, even)?  I am not a scholar of history. I studied literature.  But whether the particulars are true or untrue, isn’t there some form of resonance that catches us and stirs us to know more?  When we look beyond the facts, the fiction, do we not see ourselves?  As Shakespeare reminds in Hamlet, the job of a good story, or player is to “hold a mirror up to nature”.  And our job then, as audience or reader is to ask, who are we in this?

Why do I look at my ancestor’s past? Why do I reflect on my own past? Am I stuck? Can I not inhabit the present or future? Am I afraid?  No. I’m not afraid. Not anymore. I see more of myself in all of these things than I ever did. I see the hero and heroine, I see the scoundrel and the dummy, I see the nobleman, and the peasant trying to make a living. I see all of it in my own flesh, in my history. And yet, here I am now, breathing and living it all, remembering and dreaming of more.  Beginnings and endings, never-ending.

So, what did I learn from this? Well, I’m tantalized as always by a good story that I can relate to, personalize, live. And, I create the story by my living:  I can invent. I can forgive. I can change things around. I can create something new. I can go back and reconsider. I can ask new questions. I can pull things once lost together. I can do anything I want to!

“You can’t go back”, they say. Oh yes you can! Because time does not exist. And if you want to get your “puzzler” going, just think of Einstein. Or fractal geometry. The self-same patterns just keep going and going. Beautiful infinite and timeless, turning in on themselves and ever-expanding. Self-reflecting. Oh yes, how far can you go?!

I could go on forever considering these things. As I look backward and forward and at the very beginning of everything. I could go in leaps and bounds and never stop questioning. Never stop dreaming. Never stop launching into and including, sweeping up all the forgotten pieces into one great whole.

Oh yes, I could get quite philosophical on you. But I don’t want to scare you off.  So I’ll just say, there’s more to the story than what you see. So ask!  What does this have to do with me? How can I live more of this now? How can I make this even better than before? How can I look back as if into a mirror, and then create a great prism where everything is reflected more and more? You want to live forever? Just think about that.

It’s beautiful, isn’t it?  Life. Never-ending. Charming. Intelligent. Infinite. Life.


We thoroughly enjoyed the evening at Dr. Warrick’s lecture, and how generously Dr. Warrick portrayed my ancestor and Sir John A. as two very prominent and upstanding (though temperamental) citizens in the community of Picton.  I also enjoyed playing the “naughty Moore” for the evening, allowing myself to encompass a little piece of history in my genes and in my demeanor.  After being invited back to Dr. Warrick’s lovely home and having a toast to the ancestors and to those present, Dr. Warrick pointed out a special keepsake in the corner of the living room that they intended to auction off for the cause:  a simple wooden chair apparently owned and used by  Sir John A. MacDonald. Before I left, I couldn’t resist playing my part to the fullest, having the honour (and gumption) to place my saucy behind on Sir John A.’s chair.  Finally, a Moore and a MacDonald meet again! And that, as they say, is history!