This is the question everyone asks in Cleveland, “What are you?”. When I first moved here seven years ago, I had no idea what people were talking about. Most people who are from Cleveland are first, second or third generation Italian, Irish, Slovak, Polish, whatever, the list goes on and on.
I’m from south of the Mason-Dixon line and almost everyone I grew up with was just like me…their ancestors came to America a long, long time ago. When Clevelanders would ask what I “was”, I would say I’m a WASP (WHITE ANGLO SAXON PROTESTANT) from West Virginia!
We did have a few clues. I’ve always been told we were Irish and/or English on both my mom’s and dad’s side. My maiden name and my mom’s maiden name are both Irish sounding. So, just a few days ago, I decided to get serious about this “what am I” question and do some research!
This is my new obsession!
It is fascinating! I’m not going to bore you will all that I have found, but, after just a few hours online (this is my new entertainment after I put Blake to sleep!), I discovered that my great-great-great-great-grandparents on my dad’s side, were born in Ireland! So the rumors are true…we ARE Irish! They were both born in Donegal, Ireland and it appears both of their families immigrated to Pennsylvania via the Port in Philadelphia sometime in the late 1700′s, early 1800′s. They were married in 1805 in Pennsylvania!
I am so impressed that through Census records, birth and death certificates, and other family trees from those also researching their roots on ancestry.com, I was able to find all of this information!
I even found these photos of their grave sites.
They both lived to be 97 and 94 years old, respectively. I think it’s amazing they lived that long, especially back then!
Added bonus….so far I’ve gotten all this info for free…I joined ancestry.com for a free, two-week membership. Don’t worry…I’m not advertising for them…..they don’t know I exist!
While they were relatively easy to find, I’m having some trouble locating information on some other ancestors. The trail seems to end rather early. I’m not going to give up, though!
Have any of you ever traced your roots and if so, how did you do it? Have you ever used ancestry.com and what are some tips for finding people once the trail seems to run out? Did any of you have to hire someone to help you fill in the blanks? I would really appreciate any tips!