The FABulous Irish JEOPARDY!

Oxalis triangularis

ireland.map_2007-worldfactbookI have a confession. I’ve never drunk green beer. As someone who is 25% Irish, this may be a sin against Saint Patrick. Of course, the reason is that I don’t drink ANY beer.

You may know that I’m somewhat of a fan of the game show JEOPARDY! So I looked back at the questions referencing the Emerald Isle on the show in 2020. The answers to the first set are below.

BESTSELLING NONFICTION $800: “Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe examines the historic “Troubles” in this smallest of the 4 U.K. political divisions
TRIANGULAR $400: Oxalis triangularis is the purple clover, or purple this, a word associated with Ireland.
I’M JUST THE “GO” BETWEEN $2000: This patriotic phrase means “Ireland forever”.
EUROPEAN HISTORY IS A DOWNER $200: A lack of genetic diversity in this crop in 1840s Ireland was a major cause of disaster for the population.

HODGEPODGE $200: An early depiction of a demon holding this customary farm implement is on a thousand-year-old high cross in County Louth, Ireland.
ISLAND PEOPLE $800: She was in 13 consecutive S.I. swimsuit issues and despite her name, does not speak with a brogue.
THE IRISHMAN $1600: In 2018 Gerry Adams resigned as head of this 2-word Northern Ireland unification party after 35 years
GOATS (GREATEST OF ALL TIME) $2000: In a 2010 poll this Nobel Peace Prize winner and politician ranked as Ireland’s greatest person.
NATIONS’ SECOND-LARGEST CITIES $400: Put a stopper in this second city of Ireland, found on an island in the River Lee.

A post-Beatles interlude

Both John and Paul wrote and performed songs about the Irish. Each song is very… earnest.

The Luck of the Irish – John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and Elephant’s Memory – from the 1972 album Some Time in New York City
Give Ireland Back to the Irish – Paul McCartney and Wings, single, went to #21 on the Billboard charts in 1972. And this the instrumental B-side.

The answer to these is Ireland

ANTIQUES $2000: Treasured Belleek ware pottery was manufactured starting in the 1850s at Fermanagh on this island.
CATHOLIC NATIONS $800: St. Columba’s House and St. Kevin’s Kitchen are 2 historic churches in this European nation that’s about 80% Catholic.
NATIONS IN THE NATIVE TONGUE $200: Éire.
HYDE $600: Founder of the Gaelic League, Douglas Hyde was also the first president of this republic.
MARY: ME $1200: And here’s to you, Mary Robinson, president of this European country from 1990 to 1997.

Answers from the top quiz: Northern Ireland; Shamrock; Erin go Bragh; Potatoes; Pitchfork; Kathy Ireland; Sinn Fein; John Hume; Cork (County Cork is where my people came from.)

Stats! 

My DNA is more Irish than ever

and Nigerian

I’ve noted before my DNA results. Twice now, I’ve gotten messages that read: “The next time you look at your AncestryDNA® results, you’re going to see some significant changes that might surprise you.”

Here’s iteration #3:

ancestrydna3

Version #1, from March 2018, had me 14% from Ireland/Scotland/Wales. The second take, from September 2018, showed me 19% Irish/Scottish. “Your DNA hasn’t changed, of course, but the science behind determining your ethnicity is constantly evolving.

“In this update, we’ve more than doubled the size of our reference panel, including more people from different parts of the world, which has helped us to refine your ethnicity estimates. We’ve split some regions and adjusted the borders of others for better precision.”

Now, as you can see, I might be fully 1/3 Scotch/Irish, and most likely from Munster, Ireland. Conversely, England/Wales plummeted from 20% to 2%. Cameroon fell from 26% to 15%, but Nigeria jumped from 1% to 28%. Mali stayed about the same, 6% to 7%.

I find this all quite mysterious. If I dig under the numbers, my ethnicity estimate for Scotch/Irish is 33%, but it can range from 15—33%.

Cousins

These are, of course, imperfect tools. 23andME has me pegged as 25% English and Irish. Since Ancestry now has had me at 2% English, I feel entitled to drink green beer. That is, if I drank beer at all.

And while my relationships to my second and third cousins are getting clearer, my fourth cousins are generally not so easy. For one thing, there are scads of them. And for another, I haven’t yet been able to identify all my third-great-grandparents (yet), so I can’t figure out HOW I’m related to many of these people.

Specifically, I don’t know which of my ancestors came from County Cork. However, I can tell that there’s at least one cousin, initials MM, who is STILL in County Cork, Ireland, where Munster is located. I figure I ought to fly over and say howdy. Well, if one could still do such things.

Am I one of the Irish of Munster, Ireland?

Interesting that none of the other parts of my genealogy specify below the region, but my Scot-Irish roots identifies Munster.

Munster
by Caomhan27 – Based on 1651 Arms of Munster, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
The last time I got results from my Ancestry DNA test, I showed to be 19% from Ireland or Scotland 19%. But then there was a specific reference to a place called Munster, Ireland.

The Wikipedia notes that Munster is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the south west of the island. “In early Ireland, the Kingdom of Munster was one of the kingdoms of Gaelic Ireland ruled by a ‘king of over-kings’ (Irish: rí ruirech).

“Following the Norman invasion of Ireland, the ancient kingdoms were shired into counties for administrative and judicial purposes.”

The test also suggests a possible connection to Cork, its largest city. Cork County is the southernmost entity of the state.

There is a Munster Irish group. “To meet the project goals, we limit membership to males with one of the surnames (or variants thereof) listed below and EITHER a most distant paternal ancestor identified as having been born [there], OR a Y-DNA haplotype similar to those described under ‘The Ancestral Haplotypes of Munster’ on the Results page.”

Well, I don’t know about the latter criteria. I should work on one of those Y-DNA tests eventually. But Green IS on of the surnames listed as having “been identified as in use in Munster in pre-Norman times in various ancient works.’

Interesting that none of the other parts of my genealogy specify below the region:
Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples 26%
Benin/Togo 22%
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 20%

From this I infer that there are other people in the database from Munster with similar traits as I have. I find the slow peeling of the layers of my genealogy fascinating.

So Roger O Green can legitimately celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not one for green beer, so I’ll have to find other ways to celebrate.

St Patrick’s Day: the Burns Sisters

“Their music appeared in the Louis Malle film Atlantic City.”

When I was growing up in Binghamton, NY, John Burns was the mayor for a dozen years. From his November 2004 obituary:

“John was elected mayor of Binghamton in 1957 and re-elected in 1961.” He served in a bunch of other positions, including working on Robert Kennedy’s tragic 1968 campaign for President. “Governor Hugh Carey asked John to serve as his Appointments Secretary” in 1979, for instance.

I blew up balloons and the like for his brother Bill’s failed 1969 campaign for mayor.

What I most remember about John Burns is that he and his wife Theresa had 12 kids, double digits, just like his friend and mentor RFK. As far as I know, I didn’t know any of them.

At some point, several of the sisters moved to Ithaca, NY, not that far away, and The Burns Sisters began their professional musical career. “One of their earliest successes was when their music appeared in the Louis Malle film Atlantic City as a result of their brother Patrick who was working on the film. As a quintet [they were] made up of sisters Marie, Annie, Jeannie, Sheila, and Terry…

“In 1993 the quintet released Songs of the Heart before older sisters Terry and Sheila dropped out to devote more time to their families.” The trio had a modicum of success, including touring with Arlo Guthrie more than once.

“In 2012, the Burns Sisters released… The Hills of Ithaca. The title was inspired by a 1947 Woody Guthrie poem which the Burns Sisters put to music after being given the unpublished version by Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie.”

“Jeannie Burns left the band in 2013 to study guitar and songwriting, with Marie and Annie continuing to perform as a duo.” And it was the duo’s music that popped up on my YouTube feed, unbidden,

So it seems as though I am required to link to The Burns Sister’s rendition of Oh Danny Boy. The video shows pictures of their family over the years. It’ll link directly to some of their other songs.

Is it my Irish eyes that are smilin’?

Peace from Roger O’Green.

I haven’t scheduled it, but I think I need to take one of those DNA testing kits. I haven’t investigated how precise they are yet, but there are three things I’m hoping to discover:

1) Was the picture on my maternal grandmother’s wall of one of her ancestors, and therefore one of MY ancestors, English or Irish? I’ve heard both.

If the latter, I’d be one of 33.3 million “who claimed Irish ancestry in 2013. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.6 million).”

2) Were ancestors on my fathers side Dutch or “Pennsylvania Dutch,” which is to say, German? Here again, the lore conflicts.

3) I want to get into one of those registers to try ascertain whether I can find a match that will tell me who the biological father of my father is?

Not sure which product, MyHeritage or Family Tree DNA, or LivingDNA or 23andMe or Ancestry.com’s product or something else is the best for the price and will give me the information I want.

Have you folks used any of these products? How satisfied were you with them? What did you learn that you are willing to to share? Your feedback, if any, will probably have an impact in my decision-making.

I’m also curious about why, if you considered doing one of these tests, why you did not? Cost? You already know? Lack of curiosity?

For me, the results might inform my travel plans when/if I ever retire. This is not merely an academic query, though I would like the Daughter, who has relatives she can trace back to the 14th century on her mother’s side, to have a clearer record on her father’s.

Of course, on this St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll always be a bit Irish. They color the Chicago River with my last name, FCOL. Peace from Roger O’Green.