Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Paternal great-great grandfathers

My family thinks of themselves as Irish, and certainly my father being a McClernan and my mother being a Maguire helps that belief, but we seem to be at least as much other nationalities as Irish. As I noted on my mother's side, although there are plenty of Irish ancestors, there are also as many who appear to be English (Smith) or from other UK countries and territories.

It's the same story on my father's side. Of his paternal grandparents, certainly the McClernans are Irish. One of my great-great grandfathers is John McClernan, a "milk dealer" from Ballymena, County Antrim, Ireland. But my Grampop McClernan's maternal grandfather, Alfred Hall (could that name be any more English?) is from Yorkshire England (like the Brontes) although his mother at least was Irish. Patrick Bronte, the father of Charlotte, Emily, Ann and Branwell was from Ireland originally.  Alfred died in 1918, possibly another victim of the 1918 influenza pandemic.

One of my father's mother's grandfathers was John Francis Dalton, born in Ireland in 1843, moved to Pennsylvania at the age of 4. started out as a coal miner but became a tea salesman. The other was Daniel Dreyer from France. He was a "laborer" living in New Jersey from around 1853. I've already written about the Dreyers who can be traced back to the late 1600s in north-eastern France. My grandmother's grandmother was Gertrude Pfeiffer from Germany.

So the tally of my great-great grandfathers is:
  1. John McClernan, born in Ireland, milk dealer (his son William my paternal grandfather's father was an entrepreneur who owned two bars.)
  2. Alfred Hall, born in Yorkshire England, occupation unknown
  3. John Francis Dalton, born in Ireland, coal miner/tea salesman
  4. Daniel Dreyer, born in France, laborer
  5. James Maguire, born in Ireland, Union soldier, liquor magnate
  6. Alexander Wolfington, born in Nova Scotia, son of a sea captain, carriage/auto magnate
  7. James Lawrence Wert Smith, born in Philadelphia, worked for the Reading Railroad
  8. William H. Young, born in Philadelphia, Union soldier
Of course there are also eight great-great grandmothers, but less information is available about them so I stuck with the great-great grandfathers.

So based on this tally: three great-great-grandfathers were from Ireland; two were from Philadelphia, probably of English descent (Smith, Young), one from Nova Scotia (probably Welsh), one from England and one from France.

So yeah I'm only about half Irish. Which is fine with me, I'm not interested all that much in celebrating ethnicity, which seems to be one more way to keep people apart.

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