I’m not Irish. At least I’m pretty sure I’m not Irish.
I say this because St. Patrick’s Day is approaching and never will you meet so many people claiming Irish decent. I don’t know if it’s the green beer or the desire to be kissed, but suddenly everyone’s got a leprachaun hanging from their family tree.
So, yeah, I’m not Irish. At least I haven’t found any evidence to suggest that there’s any Irish in my family. I fully acknowledge that there are branches of my tree that haven’t been fully explored (and some that haven’t been well pruned or watered, but that’s another post for another day). Maybe I do have a few shamrocks in there. But until I see some evidence, I won’t presume anything for the sake of wearing green bowlers and Chicago dying their river a brighter shade of green.
From what I’m told by members of my family that had the tenacity to actually research branches of my family, I’m mostly Scottish and German. That’s on both sides, too. To simplify things I just say that I’m half-Scottish, half-German, though I know that there’s at least one Frenchman in there on my Dad’s side, and I’m not sure about part of my mother’s family.
My Dad’s family (those bearing the Haws name) crossed the ocean a long time ago. A long, long time ago. We’re talking the late 1600’s. As soon as Scotland heard that there was a new country open they put my family on the boat.
At least that’s one of the stories that’s told. The other popular story is that as sheep thieves, we had to leave to escape punishment (a similar story is told about why my family moved from Kentucky to Illinois: they don’t hang horse thieves in Illinois). No one really knows why my family immigrated since it happened so long ago. That story was lost to the erosion of time.
I know that the family first came to Virginia before moving to Kentucky and finally Illinois. Living in the south during the time of slavery might lead some to fear that there are slave owners in their past. Not my family. I don’t think we’ve ever had a pot to piss in; I doubt they ever owned enough of anything to warrent owning a slave. I’m not entirely sure my family didn’t come over as indentured servants themselves.
On the other side, my mother’s side of the family (at least her dad’s side) hasn’t been in this country that long in comparison. Somehow a man from Scotland and a woman from Germany immigrated from their respective countries, met up in Ohio, got hitched, started a family, and eventually ended up in Illinois. Five generations later, here I am. It’s kind of wild to think that I’m not that far removed from the mother countries.
I’m not sure why that side of the family came to this country either. I’m guessing it was in search of a better life. That was the trend back in those days. I’m guessing they found one, though why anyone thought Central Illinois would be a good idea, I don’t know. It must have been a more happening place back then.
Scottish and German. That’s me. It’s not as sexy as being Irish, but I’m still proud of it.
It’s also a great excuse for my questionable taste in fashion. I mean, come on. Lederhosen and kilts.
I never had a chance.