Thursday, March 17, 2016

Good Enough For Today

This is always an interesting time of year. It doesn’t really matter where you are or what you do for a living, you quickly find out who around you has even a trace of Irish ancestry. And, of course, you also find out who are the ones that see this as an opportunistic excuse to show up to work the following morning with soft voices, light shuffling feet, and sunglasses nearly implanted on their face. It really is an interesting day on the calendar to both experience and to observe (in more ways than one).

Until recently, it was never really a day that caught my attention. There were year when it even passed by without me knowing. Now having a better grasp and understanding of my own family history, I enjoy seeing the festivities and hearing the multitudes of stories of the places from which families originated. Given the long history and pride that is found in Irish families, it is no surprise to find my family’s original surname, McKenna, listed on Wikipedia:

McKenna, also MacKenna, Mckenna or Mackenna, is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish surname "Mac Cionaoith", also spelt Mac Cionaodha or Mac Cionnaith, meaning "son of Cionnaith.

The historical lineage of the McKennas lies in Trough, County Monaghan, Ulster, Ireland, where they were "The Lords Of Truagh" and the McKenna coat of arms can be seen on many of the graves from members of the family.

In North Kerry Mckenna is considered to come from Mac Ginea. The Cionnath, Cionaoith, Cionaddha forms are considered there to be sources of names like Kenny, Kenney and Kennedy.

It is fascinating to see the original family surname so closely tied to a specific geographic location in Ireland. This is particularly important given the limited details that we have about my family’s original Irish ancestor whom we believe was named William and who arrived in the United States sometime between 1840 and 1860. We don’t know exactly when or where he came into this country or precisely from where he came but we at least have some idea from which part of the country the family originated.

While this is the most recent immigrant on either side of my family, it is proving to be one of the more difficult to pin down both due to the discrimination of the Irish at that point in history and also the sheer fact that the name is so incredibly common. But, on this day it really doesn’t matter all that much. We know that we have Irish blood and from where our family hails. Today, and most days, that is enough. But it would be nice to know a little bit more.