I felt the need to confirm the obvious. I took a DNA test to confirm that I am mostly Irish. Unlike the commercial advertising this DNA product, I was not surprised. The report showed that I am 93% Irish with the next highest ethic percentage Finnish at 3%.
However, I was surprised that my information helped confirm our family tree for my distant relatives. After my results were returned, I received an email from a second cousin (who I did not know) looking to confirm the data. After doing so, my generous cousin emailed me the Crimmins family tree going back to my great-great grandparents.
This is where it got interesting. My great-great grandparents were born in Ireland about the year 1840. They had three children including their first-born Edward, who is my great-grandfather. The 1870 United States Census has them living in Brooklyn with all three of their children at that time.
Apparently many of the Crimmins’ fled Ireland during the great famine that overtook the country in 1846 to 1848 and never returned. We were fortunate enough to visit the region that my great ancestors came from in the southwest counties of Cork and Kerry. The conditions during the Great Famine would be unthinkable today.
The Great Famine or the Great Hunger was a period of mass starvation, disease, and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. It is sometimes referred to, mostly outside Ireland, as the Irish Potato Famine, because about 40% of the population was solely reliant on this cheap crop. During the famine, about one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland, causing the island’s population to decrease by 20% to 25%.
I could not help but think about how difficult life must have been for both Patrick and his wife Alice to have traveled by boat from Ireland and their thoughts when they arrived passing through Ellis Island around 1848. Struggling to support the family must have been a daily concern. Work especially for new Irish immigrants was difficult to obtain. There was no safety net back in the day.
My thoughts then went to the current situation that most of us find ourselves. A week doesn’t pass before I have to hear how difficult life is in 2018. The media and the complaints vary from the mundane to the extreme.
It seems the incredible growth and prosperity that has taken place over these last hundred years is often overlooked. The incredible riches that have not only been achieved so far, but will continue into the foreseeable future do not seem to be recognized.
However there are clues to the tremendous improvement that all of us are beneficiaries of. Our extended life expectancies, the improved medical care with advanced science, the ability to access all current information from a hand-held device instantaneously, the tremendous variety of consumer products available to us with the click of a mouse or finger, services on demand (such as Uber) and the future looks even brighter.
New technologies are just starting to have incredible impact on our lives such as 3D printing, the discovery of the human genome, artificial intelligence (AI), self-driving vehicles, robots, gene therapy, hot solar cells, fracking, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and on and on…
We live in blessed times. Now on behalf of my courageous great-grand parents Patrick and Alice who made the heroic decision to try for a better life in America, let’s all go celebrate their decision with a Bud Light…Dilly Dilly.
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