Posts Tagged ‘Irish’

Irish Eyes

I love St. Patrick’s Day! It has always been special. I don’t know why, but it has. Maybe it’s because my mom always told us that we were part Irish on her side of the family. We used to ask her why she had green eyes and she would say it was because she was part Irish. She told us about a relative on her mother’s side, that was Irish but she didn’t know exactly how it all worked out.

While researching my maternal family tree back in the very early 2000’s, I learned that my mom was right. It hadn’t been a made up story. There really was an Irish man in our family. It goes back to my great great grandfather in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, on the Gulf of Mexico when a young lady came from Ireland to study. She was given a job as a babysitter on the ranch my ancestor owned. Before it was time for her to go back to Ireland, she was pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. She couldn’t take him back home with her to Ireland when she left, as in those days (the very early 1900’s) it would have been scandalous for her to keep the baby, so my great great grandfather and his wife adopted the baby and raised him as their own. The young mother went back to Ireland without her son.

There are also more than a few stories that say that the adopted Irish baby was actually fathered by my great great grandfather, which is entirely possible. Records show that he was very well to do. He had a lot of property and many employees and more than a bit of a reputation for drinking in town and running with women. All that is certain is that the baby was raised by the family and took his adopted father’s last name, Saldana. His nickname, according to several accounts, was Big Red because of his red hair. There is no record of the Irish mother’s name, or at least none that I could find.

It’s very interesting to find the story and some documentation of it but it’s also very sad to me to read of this young woman who had to live her baby behind. I think of how afraid and alone she must have felt and then how she must have been haunted by the facts once she left her baby in America to return to Ireland.

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My Irish Root(s)

I know, I know. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day! But in this case, there is some Irish in my family tree.

My mother’s side of the family is from Texas, from the Rio Grande Valley, on the Gulf of Mexico. Many years ago, I think about three generations ago, a young Irish lady came to the United States to study. She ended up in Texas and became pregnant with an American baby. She was taken in by my mother’s great grandfather and his family. They had a ranch and they took care of her there until her baby was born. In exchange, she did some light housekeeping and watched the children on the ranch.

When her baby was born and it was time for her to return to Ireland, she couldn’t take her baby home because she would suffer horribly for being an unmarried mother (this was in the early1900’s). She gave her baby boy to my mother’s maternal great grandfather and his wife and then she left for home. They adopted him and the only name for him on record is the surname Saldana. They raised him as their own. There is no record of the Irish mother’s surname.

There is also some rumor that the great grandfather had actually fathered the illegitimate baby. In any case, on my mother’s side, there is Irish blood, which probably accounts for all the green eyes, red hair, light complexion, and freckles!


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