Thursday, June 8, 2017

Why The Shamrock?

I've been trying to attend more genealogy conferences as of late. I recently attended the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) in SpringField, MA and RootsTech in Salt Lake City, UT.  I started giving out business cards with my blog information to help get my name out there as well as include details on my family on the back for "cousin bait".


The comment I hear the most when I give out my cards is "Oh shamrock. You do Irish genealogy". It is true that I embrace my Irish roots, which is my father's line.  I've had the most genealogy success going back to Ireland so the shamrock seemed like a good symbol to use.

The shamrock is typically associated with St Patrick to explain the Holy Trinity. It didn't become popular until the 19th century where the shamrock and Celtic harp were used as national symbols. During the Victorian Age it was viewed as an act of rebellion to participate in the "wearin o' the green".

I've never been to Ireland but I view it as another home to explore. So many of my ancestors lived in Ireland and established themselves as local farmers for generations before the Irish famine occurred and then migrated off to Prince Edward Island or to the U.S. for a new life.

The shamrock is also associated with good luck, even though it's not officially a four leaf clover (which we associate with leprechauns). In an Irish bride's bouquet you may find a sprig of shamrock to bring good luck to the couple. In genealogy there are times that we do get lucky - we find a document that should have been lost, the family bible turns up from a long lost cousin who got in touch, a DNA match that helps you break down a brick wall on a family line. I've been fortunate to have had much luck exploring my family tree. May you have luck in your genealogy research!

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