Friday, March 10, 2006

I Belong...

I have this wonderfully thick grey book that my father gave to me before he died. It's a history of my grandmother's family. My grandmother's maiden name is Reagan. She's distantly related to Ronald Regan in some way, I'm unclear where the connection is, but he used to send cards on holidays, so I guess it was close enough.

Anyway, when my dad got sick I really lost sight of tracing my heritage. The present times required my attention. When he lost his battle with heart disease two years later, the book was long forgotten.

Recently I was cleaning out my bookcases. For some strange reason, hubby thinks I need to go through my books and get rid of some. Apparently he's lost his mind. I digress... I found the book again. And I started tracing through it. And all of a sudden, I found someone familiar. Then, I found me! Yeah, me! And I thought... hmm... I know these people! So, I read on.

I discovered that my roots have been traced back to Timothy O'Raigan. He was one of five brother's who migrated to America from the province of Munster in Ireland after Cromwell's invasion in the mid-1600's. And then I discovered there's an entire organization for descendants of O'Raigans. By the way, Raigan, Ragan, Regan, Reagan, and numerous others are all the same, just changed by someone along the way.

And I thought, I belong! I've known I had Irish ancestry. I mean without the name even, all you have to do is take a look at the gazillion freckles and you know I'm from somewhere in the region. (Well, part of me is at least.)

Here's our family arms:

It was sort neat to trace it back like that.So, I thought I'd share that with you all too. What about you? Ever traced any lineage? Are you wearing a Claddagh and singing along to Danny Boy? Or are you from another place equally intriguing?



Stacy Dawn said...

Wow! That is amazing. I know my great-great grandmother also came from Ireland. My mom even has some water urns that were hers. On my father's side he has it written down in the back of the family bible. It is neat to be able to trace your history back so far.

As for you hubby, what was he thinking? LOL

Stephanie Bose said...

April, what a wonderful thought for the day. It's true, we all belong... sometimes that's easy to forget. We feel like we're floating out here in the middle of nowhere at times, don't we? : ) This sense of common ancestry is one of the reasons I love to read Edward Rutherford's books. He traces families from thousands of years before. If you've never read London, Sarum, or Russka, I encourage you to. Right now, I'm reading his newest one: Ireland, the Dublin Saga. Very interesting.

As for me, uncles on both sides of my family have traced family roots. On my mom's side, I'm descended from William Bradford, who was one of the leaders of the Pilgrims (he became the second governor after Miles Standish, and it was actually William Bradford who made peace with the natives and declared Thanksgiving, not Standish). On my Dad's side, I'm descended from German mercenaries who came to the Nova Scotia area in the 1770s to fight for British in the American Revolution. When the British won, the Germans were given land as payment, so they stayed.

So, aristocrats on one side, and paid fighters on the other. Fun stuff!!!

P.S. abuot the book thing. I recently moved and donated 100 books to the library. That was the third time in four years I had to cull my collection and it hurt so bad!

Nicole Reising said...

Hi April - What a neat posting! I have relitives on both sides that have traced back our lineage. I though do NOT have a memory for particulars and will not pretend too. :-) I am nine different things that we know of to date and am proud of it. I'm a true pure american! At least in the sense of why america was created!

I do like history though and I do delve into the romantic side of it once in awhile - not much time right now with the kids and all. But I have a photo copy of my dad's, dad's side of the family coat of arms. I keep thinking that one of these days I'll buy a copy (colored) of it. :-)

Have a great weekend!


Olga said...

April, wow, it's so interesting to find out about the ancestors. I find it fascinating, and important for preservation of family history.

April said...

LOL, Stacy... He's delusional, I tell ya!

I'll definately have to check out Rutherford's books, Bosey. I'd heard that tidbit about your ancestor before. How neat to know you're a descendant.

Cole, I probably have a ton of different ethnic lineages too. It's hard to be American and not. This just seems to be the most prominent, since both my father's mother and my mother's father were of "very" Irish decent. I used to hate it because of the freckles. Now I enjoy it!

I agree, Olga. It seems that the more time passes, the more I feel it important to keep hold of our lineage.