By Michele E. Buttelman
Signal Staff Writer
March 17 is celebrated not only in Ireland, but also throughout the world by Irish and non-Irish alike. St. Paddy’s Day is known for parades, ancestry, traditions, shamrocks, leprechauns and the “wearin’ o’ the green.”
Interestingly enough, many of the modern Saint Patrick’s Day traditions were invented by the Irish in America.
In the United States, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations can include imbibing green beer, eating corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew or dancing an Irish jig.
It’s hard to miss the signs of St. Patrick’s Day with shamrocks, leprechauns, green cookies, green cupcakes and green milkshakes nearly everywhere you look.
There is little agreement on the origins of the idiom “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” but what is known is that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930. Between 1820 and 1860, the Irish constituted more than onethird of all immigrants to the United States. In the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants to this nation.
These immigrants brought the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day with them as a way of celebrating their national pride.
More than 31.5 million Americans claim Irish ancestry, nearly 10% of the population.
Do you know if your ancestors may have come from Ireland?
A fun family project this St. Patrick’s Day is to take a DNA test from one of the many that are commercially available and can give you a geographic location of your ancestry.
Tracing your ancestry through family records, or stories passed down from older generations, or using a product like Ancestry.com is another great family project.
Interviewing your older relatives, grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and great-great grandparents can often provide hints as to family lineage.
If you do have Irish heritage, it’s now possible to find which county in Ireland your ancestors once lived.
In the Santa Clarita Valley, a great resource for genealogical research is the Valencia Family History Center, which is located on 24443 McBean Parkway in Valencia. It is sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but is open and free for anyone to use. It is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The center is also open on Saturdays by appointment only. The center also has a free online resource available that will assist you in creating your family tree.
To set up a free account and begin your family tree, visit www.familysearch.org. For more information call (661) 259-1347.
If you raise your pint of green beer or green milkshake to celebrate, don’t forget to include an Irish toast:
Here’s to you and yours and to mine and ours. And if mine and ours ever come across to you and yours, I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours.
May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside.
May you always walk in sunshine. May you never want for more. May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.
May the luck of the Irish be with you.
There are only two kinds of people in the world, the Irish and those who wish they were.
May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind be always at your back.