Over the last few days there has been some conversation between those in the genealogy field. In Ireland many fear that when Americans show up we are looking to take the family farm. I really dislike a conversation with an us versus them mentality. But that is where we are.
I was told that we, the Americans, need to start this conversation. I am not sure why that is, but I will.
Since the first day I walked into my local Irish center the one thing that is talked about anytime someone discusses going to Ireland is to be careful in what they say and how they act because the locals will think we are there to take the family farm. To claim the birth right of our ancestors who had to flee to survive.
My personal experience with this:
When I visited Ireland last fall, I walked the townland where my ancestors lived. When I visited the pub of the golf course that now sits on a majority of the townland. When I told the gentleman why I was in the area, the first thing they asked was “you’re not here to talk the golf course are you?” I laughed it off and told them I only wanted the last whole. In return they laughed and knew I was just looking around.
Any other place I visited welcomed me back home when they asked if my ancestors were from Ireland. Why is it just the local area that has this fear?
The reality of it is this, we do not want the farm or any other piece of property. We just want to connect with our ancestors (and maybe a cousin or two). We want to see the port our ancestors left from, walk the land they lived on, visit the churches they were married in and baptized their children in. But most of all, we want to connect with our ancestors. We do that when we can accomplish these simple things.
I ask each of you to share this with you friends in Ireland (genealogists, local genealogical societies and historical societies as well). I would love to have a discussion on this and see what we can do to change the views. It can be done, but we need to take the steps to do so.