Being Irish in America

Steve held close to his heart his family’s connection to Ireland. It is an interesting aspect of the Irish in America that Steve, like others of his generation who were several generations removed from Ireland, felt that being Irish defined who they were. Possibly, it had to do with the identity it gave them. Saying that you were Irish was comparable to claiming membership in a distinct fraternity with a common tradition, secret rituals, and assured friendships wherever you found a fellow member of the Irish diaspora. The Irish gloried in their family, their neighborhood, and their love of the language. For Steve, it granted him entrée into the big leagues, where many young men of Irish descent were entering the American mainstream.

Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley

 

Irish Female Shamans

When Auntie Shea came from Ireland, she only spoke Gaelic . She found her way to Bloody Plank Road by going from firehouse to firehouse and asking directions. ( She apparently discovered that at least one fireman was a recent Irish immigrant, who spoke Gaelic, or they could point to someone in the community familiar with Gaelic.)

Steve’s family saw their Auntie Shea as more than a relative; she embodied the sense of place , stories , magic , religious fervor, aphorisms, and arcane powers of Ireland. It seemed that only women of Irish descent had these powers, which may have come from Viking lore or Druidic traditions. She knew how to apply the secret knowledge to keep the evil spirits at bay and was rarely baffled by anything, whether it was tragic or comic , that could knock someone’s life off course. She seemed to always have a ready explanation to cover good , sad , or bad news ; and in Irish neighborhoods , there was a surfeit of the latter two. As anyone familiar with these Irish female shamans knows , they can deal with anything . There was always a pinch of salt to be thrown , a saying that fit the moment, or an appropriate prayer to beseech guardian angels or the saints to help in time of need .

Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley

 

Irish Democrat

Uncle Steve was an esteemed member of the Democratic Party and held numerous political offices in Lafayette . His saloon , conveniently located across the street from the Tippecanoe County Courthouse, was his bailiwick for the various offices that he held. Many children of Irish immigrants, like Uncle Steve, climbed the ladder of success within the friendly climes and ward healing of the Democratic Party. The party helped these descendants of Ireland escape the anti – Irish prejudice that had confined the hated “ Micks ” to Irish ghettos like Bloody Plank Road. The Democratic Party granted the perquisites of political power to Irish-Americans because the close-knit Irish families reliably delivered the necessary votes keeping the party in power. As a favored member of the party , Uncle Steve found jobs for his family and their children, giving them a lift up the ladder. In one instance , Uncle Steve arranged for his nephew Harry Hannagan, blind since childhood, to hold the job of supervisor of weights and measures for the city. Sometimes in politics , the holding of the job was more important than doing the job!

Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley

 

Irish Immigration

When Steve was born , his mother , Johanna Enright Hannagan , was forty – one , and his father was forty – three . Johanna was a short , cheery woman of ample proportions with a loving personality . Her parents came directly from Ireland , but their ancestry in Ireland is not available. This is typical of many Irish immigrants who left their country behind and never talked about their life in Ireland, what county they lived in, and what they did when they arrived in the States. It is often a mystery of how or why immigrants like Johanna Hannagan’s parents traveled from the East Coast to places like Lafayette . This mystery of the trek to a river town in Indiana is also true for the Hannagan ancestors .

Steve Hannagan: Prince of the Press Agents and Titan of Modern Public Relations by Michael K. Townsley

 

Just Watch The Dancers

Quote

Amazon.com

Listen to the land, listen to one another. Slow down and reach into the uncomfortable spaces ignored for centuries. Touch the wounds in our hearts and the earth. Show up with courage. Set down dominion. Step with kindness. It’s not complicated, really. Just watch the dancers. Follow the circle.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Listening, Learning and Pride

Quote

Amazon.com

Often, humor was the antidote to loss. The more I listened, the more I learned. Sometimes the lessons cost me my pride.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

Crucial Storytelling

Quote

Amazon.com

We had been taught not to look back. We had been trained to disconnect from family and our homelands. We had swapped our stories for a dream. To survive we need to find, and then share, our interlinking stories.

White Birch, Red Hawthorn: A Memoir by Nora Murphy

 

My Immigrant Ancestors: Ellen Joyce

This example of Immigration in the USA is taken from my own family tree.

Ellen Joyce and Henry James Myers

Relationship to me: Great Grandparents

Ellen “Nellie” Joyce
1892-1928

  • Birth Location: Boherbee, Ireland
  • Immigration Year: 1911
  • US Residence: Boston, MA
  • Native Languages: English
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: Literate (able to read and write).
  • Naturalization Status: Listed in 1920 census as having been naturalized.
  • Number of children: 6

 

Henry James Myers (Mayotte) (Maillotte) (Miers) (Mailhot)
1887 – 1957

  • Birth Location: Taftville, CT
  • Immigration Year: N/A
  • US Residence: Boston, MA
  • Native Languages: English
  • Occupation: Railroad Brakeman
  • Education: Either no education or an 8th-grade education, depending on the census. Literate (able to read and write).
  • Naturalization Status: Never mentioned. Parents were born in Canada. Citizenship is assumed.
  • Number of children: 8 (second wife had two children)

My Immigrant Ancestors: Margaret and Joseph Anderson

t’s an election year. Politicians say and do whatever it takes to get votes. Donald Trump has decided to approach this in the same way that (some) TV shows get ratings: offend everybody. After months of silently cringing over Trump’s statements about Muslim Immigrants and Mexican Immigrants, along with everything he’s done to offend every American community he possibly can; I ran across these:

When I first ran across the #IWillProtectYou story, I felt really bad for the little girl and her mother and was touched by the reaction service members had to her fear (that was a classy act – hats off to all who sent their support to this little girl!).

More recently, I found the Mexican-American video and made a more personal connection. Like most Americans, I come from a very mixed ethnic background which includes a large number of immigrants. I happen to be researching my family lineage and noticed some interesting facts cropping up. If my family is representative, then even the European immigrants were not made ‘instant citizens’ the moment they entered the USA. In fact, many of them remained Aliens for decades and (in my family) a few never attained citizenship. They were also uneducated, poor, spoke languages other than English and had lots and lots of kids.

This isn’t an earth-shaking revelation within the world of genealogy, but I believe it is worth visiting (and revisiting) during the current political climate of anti-immigration (anti-race, anti-religion, anti-women, anti-everything-Trump-can-think-of). Therefore, I will be posting details about immigrants from my own family tree until I run out of individuals and couples to profile. Here is the first entry:

Margaret Ann Wilson and Joseph Anderson

Relationship to me: Great Great Grandparents

Margaret Ann Wilson
March 1871 – ?

  • Birth Location: Northern Ireland
  • Immigration Year: 1890
  • US Residence: Boston, MA
  • Native Languages: Irish and English
  • Occupation: Housewife
  • Education: 8th grade. Literate (able to read and write).
  • Naturalization Status: Alien for 50+ years (Listed as an Alien without an SSN in the 1940 census). No evidence citizenship was ever attained.
  • Number of children: 9 born, 8 survived

Joseph Anderson
February 1861 – ?

  • Birth Location: Ireland
  • Immigration Year: 1890
  • US Residence: Boston, MA
  • Native Languages: Irish and English
  • Occupation: Laborer for Gas Company
  • Education: 8th grade. Literate (able to read and write).
  • Naturalization Status: Alien (50+ years)years (Listed as an Alien without an SSN in the 1940 census). No evidence citizenship was ever attained.
  • Number of children: 9 born, 8 survived

Poor always with us but they don’t have to freeze to death

Quote

“One of their greatest sources of both advocacy and support is the Coalition for the Homeless, the nation’s longest-standing organization of its kind. It was founded in 1982 but dates back to 1979 when, in the landmark Callahan V. Carey lawsuit, the coalition’s founder Robert Hayes took New York to task for the clause in the state constitution that reads “The aid, care and support of the needy are public concerns and shall be provided by the state…”

“For over 20 years, Coalition for the Homeless has been led by Mary Brosnahan, its executive director.

“The obscenity of people having to live on the streets really hit me,” she said. “It was a good thing to leave New York and come back to it because it made me realize how many, many people were living homeless on the streets here. It seemed unthinkable that so many people had so survive this way, and that there were so many different types of people suffering, because homelessness is so solvable. The quote from the Bible is ‘Jesus said the poor will always be with us.’ But that doesn’t mean they have to freeze to death on the streets.” 

The woman looking out for New York’s 52,000 homeless, by  Sheila Langan (@SheiLangan) at irishcentral.com

(Emphasis mine)