Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Irish Last Name: Ginnerty

People often assume the reason I didn't change my name when I married was to make a statement about gender equity. It wasn't. It was all about scentimental attachment, with a bit of mystery thrown in. (here I am greeting my grandfather after my wedding- still sharing the same last name)

My great grandfather, Patrick Ginnerty, immigrated to the US in 1895, but since he died when my grandfather was young, little was known except that he had a brother. For as long as I can remember, the curiosity in our family has always been, "Whatever happened to all the other Ginnerty's?" Whenever we traveled, my Dad always made a point to thumb through the local phonebook looking for Ginnertys. Even today, an internet search of the name Ginnerty will reveal the 17 or so here in the US that are my blood relatives and a small handful in Ireland and London. A few years I ago I called one of the Ginnertys in Ireland and he said, "Could you spell your name for me, just to check?" I did and he replied, "You're the first Ginnerty outside of my own family I've come across." The 1901 Irish census lists none, and the 1911 census shows only 3.
Here I am, all of 2, on my Gramma's lap "playing" cards with 3 of my 4 Ginnerty cousins. There are now 4 great-grandsons with the Ginnerty name, the same as there were in my generation.

The lack of knowledge about the Ginnerty family is in sharp contrast to all I know about my Irish immigrant grandmother and her family (Griffin and Sheahan) and my mom's Irish relatives (Ryan and Duffy).
My first trip to Ireland was in 1989 and a good part of those 3 weeks was spending time with family. Here's my Great Uncle Mick Griffin with a favorite cow at the farm on Ballinakilla Rd in Glenbeigh, Co. Kerry where my Gramma was born.
So, at 46 I'm still as curious as I was when I was 25. And that's why, this St. Patrick's Day, I'm blogging about the Irish surname Ginnerty.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Here's Céad Míle Fáilte to friend and to rover
That's a greeting that's Irish as Irish can be
It means you are welcome
A thousand times over
Wherever you come from, Whosoever you be

(An Irish Welcome)

25 comments:

meenal bishnoi said...

What an amazing story...thanks for sharing and for that beautiful greeting ...Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig ( hope i got that right)...xx meenal

WhiteWhispers2u said...

Good for you! Love your story and the history.Enjoy your day~Cheers Kim

pve design said...

I love it. How wonderful to honour and savour your heritage, all in a name. Happy St.Patrick's day Ms.Ginnerty Notting Hill dear lady. May the luck o the irish live each day deep in your heart.
pve

chrisartist said...

Happy St Patricks Day!!
Lovely pictures and a very interesting read.
Chrisartist

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

A name that sounds as lovely as yours needs to be kept.
Best,
Susan

Jenny Castle Design said...

Love hearing about your background Michele! And so fun to see a picture from your wedding day! Happy St. Patrick's Day :)

Kerry said...

Nice story. So wonderfulthat you know and visited your family in Ireland too.

hautelamps said...

Exactly! I would never change my last name..........who would I be if I wasn't Kathleen Marie Mullaney. I love my irish heritage.
Best..........Kathi

Joanie Ballard said...

Thank you for for writing about your wonderful Irish heritage and touching memories. I too traveled in Ireland but in 1991, searching ancestry logs in churches and libraries for our name (Mullany), and actually meeting relatives. It was a trip I'll never forget. Got to find those photographs (no iphones then!) and do a post soon. This was an inspiring read, thanks again. ~ Joanie Mullany Ballard @ MAISON de BALLARD

WA Blog Team said...

A sweet story about the history of your lovely Irish name. Happy St. Patrick's Day to My Notting Hill!

I Dream Of said...

I love it! Such a perfect reason for keeping your name. I pretty attached to McKay, which is why I don't want to let it go, although there are plenty of McKays about. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Jeanne

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Thanks for sharing and what great photos! You really haven't changed AT ALL. My family is Irish as well -but scotch-irish. So while I celebrate today, I'm a bit of a phoney!

Capella Kincheloe Interior Design said...

When I get married, I will be keeping my last name for similar reasons. Kincheloe is traced back 500 years to Virginia and the trail gets cold beyond that, some who share my surname are convinced that it is of Irish decent, but there is no proof. I am not giving that up for a common last name. Plus I nothing would sound as good with my first name.

SHERRY HART said...

Love learning about you Michele! I am Irish also and one of my favorite vacations was a 3 week trip through Ireland starting in Ballyshannon and ending up in Dublin! They are the nicest, friendliest people. Have a great day!

Party Resources said...

What a wonderful post! Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Karena said...

Michele I had not thought of that, but of course!! A wonderful family tribute!!

Come and enter to win my Spring “Green “ Gift”.

Xoxo
Karena
Art by Karena

A Perfect Gray said...

a beautiful, personal post, michelle. I enjoyed learning about your family history.

happy st. patrick's day...

donna

Ideezine said...

How precious this post is. I also kept my name McKenzie and hyphenated as did my four sisters when we married. It's a wonderful tribute to our family roots.

Ann said...

Happy St. Patty's Day from the daughter of a Slattery!

AnneHH said...

One of my favorite posts ever. I absolutely love the photo of you with your grandfather on your wedding day. So charming!!
A very happy St Patrick's Day to you and yours!!
xo, Anne

Luxe & Lucid said...

Love this post Michelle - a very thoughtful ode to St. Patrick's Day.

Reggie Darling said...

I loved this post. A dear tribute to your family, and the justified pride with which you carry your name. Wonderful!

quintessence said...

Great post!! Love this little piece of history and admire your pride and sentimentality!! You look exactly the same as you did in your lovely wedding shot!!

pretty pink tulips said...

Michele, it's so nice to know this part of your heritage. I'm sure that Irish luck will stick with you for life!!!

Hope you had a wonderful St Patty's day!

Kid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

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