Irland Essay Research Paper Like most Americans

Irland Essay, Research Paper

Like most Americans, my family is made up of many

different ethnic groups. My mom’s side is Irish Protestant descent.

My dad’s side is mostly English descent and a little of Native

American descent from his mother. There is some in which I do

not know because my dad does not know who his dad is. He was

adopted by a man named David Mitchell, this is where my last

name comes from. My grandmother died and never told my dad

who his dad was. My dad could find out from his birth

certificate, which is sealed in Albany, who his dad is. He has no

desire to do that though.

Over the summer, I tried to find out about my family’s

ancestry. I only searched on my mom’s side since it is easier.

This is for two reasons, first my mom’s parents are still alive.

Second because they came to the United States only about one

hundred years ago. Both my grandparent’s families came from

Northern Ireland. My grandparents were born in the United

States. My grandfather brought me over my cousin’s house

because she had a copy of my great grandmother’s birth certificate.

This told me what town she was from. I also found out that I had

other cousins that live in Canada that were from Northern Ireland.

Many Irish people immigrated to Canada because it was cheaper

than going to the United States. She told me that they would have

more information of family that lives in Northern Ireland. My

grandfather gave me a book called “ The World Book of Craig’s “

which is his last name. It gave me places to write to for further

information and also gave me addresses of all the Craig’s all over

the world. I learned that my grandmother’s family is from Belfast

and my grandfather’s family is from a town called Bellymena.

They are both located in the county of Antrim in Northern

Ireland. They descended from Presbyterian Scots who settled in

Northern Ireland in the seventeenth century.

In doing further research I found that the Irish, both

Protestant and Catholic, was the largest immigration group in the

United States. At one point there were more Irish in the United

States than in Ireland. The Irish immigrated in two waves. The

first wave was Scotch Irish from 1760 – 1775. They found it easy

to sustain old world ways because they came over in such a large

group. This is because they settled into towns. They were fleeing

from economic distress and religious distress since Irish laws

favored Anglicans over Presbyterians and Catholics. They wanted

to obtain land and to make a profit in the New World. The second

wave came around 1845 – 1849. They were Irish Catholics. The

reason that they migrated to the United States in such mass

numbers is because first of overpopulation and then because of the

Great Famine. The failure of the staple crop, the potato, caused

many Irish to starve to death.

When my ancestors migrated to the United States

around the turn of the century, like most immigrants they came for

a better way of life. At the time in history, Ireland was slowly

getting over the Potato Famine and struggling with England for

independence. My family had an easy transition in the United

States because they already had family in New York and in

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unlike Catholics which faced

discrimination, my family didn’t because they were Protestant.

The Catholics were discriminated because of fear that the unskilled

Irish Catholic would displace American craftsmen. Also because

the slums inhabited in part by the Irish were undermining the

nation’s values. Every social problem from immortality and

alcoholism to poverty and economic upheaval was blamed on

immigrant Irish Catholics. The country was Protestant – biased.

On my father’s side, I know very little. I have learned

that my ancestry runs all the way back to the seventeenth century

from England. They were one of the first people in the New World

looking for wealth and opportunity. I had ancestry that fought in

the American Revolution. I also have Native American ancestry

from Cherokee and Iroquois. My grandmother’s last name was

Partington, which is a name of nobility in England. They were

loyalists. There was a Partington that died in the Civil War at the

Battle of Gettysburg. There was another ancestor by the name of

Terry that was a commander in the Civil War. This is all I know

about my father’s family.

I think that all or most of our traditions are

Americanized. We go to a Protestant church, have turkey on

Thanksgiving, put a real Christmas tree up at Christmas time

and get together on birthdays. Our family just does not have that

many big traditions that stand out. Though on Christmas Eve we

go over my parents friend’s house and we eat German food, even

though we are not German.



Moody, T.W. (1995). The course of Irish history.

Boulder: Robert Rinehart.

Vaughan, W.E. (1989). A new history of Ireland 1801-1870.

New York: Oxford University Press.

Reeves, P. (1991). Ellis Island.

New York: Michael Friedman Publishing Group.

(1968). Encyclopedia of Ireland.

Dublin: Allen Figgs.

Ernst, R. (1949). Immigration life in New York City 1825-1863.

New York: Octagon Books.



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