I have vague memories of sitting with my grandfather at the piano. I don’t remember him playing. But I remember his love for music. The violin was my key to my heritage.
After my dad’s comment that he thought he remembered his father saying we had Irish heritage, I concentrated on following my grandfather’s line. As I added known names of ancestors and searched through each hint, given I discovered the wife of my two times great grandfather. A photo of her headstone was one of the hints. Knowing it was her as it had my grandfather’s name as her husband, I attached it to her profile on my tree. I had no idea how significant this would be in my search to prove my Scottish and Irish roots.
Her name was Athy Olevia Guffin. My two times great grandmother. The mother of my grandfather’s mother.
The day after I attached the photo of her headstone I received a message through ancestry.com from the person who originally posted the photo. His last name was Guffin. He asked how I was related to Athy Guffin saying her grandfather and his two times great grandfather were first cousins. I replied telling him my connection to her. It was his reply back that brought it all together.
When he replied he shared that he has taught genealogy at the University of Alabama for the past 40 years. He also shared my Athy Guffin’s family tree. The family tree that traces my roots back to Ireland and Scotland. Her great-great grandfather immigrated to the American colonies in 1773. His name in Ireland was McGuffin, but the Mc was dropped when he came to America. His family was Scots-Irish.
Professor Guffin was kind enough to share as much family history with me as he has and offered to help me in my research if I ever need it.
I’m not sure how I knew there was Scottish or Irish blood in my family other than the music. My grandfather whose family line traces back to Ireland instilled a love for music in me. He is the reason I took music lessons as a child. I’m so drawn to the music. Perhaps it’s in hearing the violin that is so prominent in Celtic music. I always associate fiddle/violin music with my grandfather. Turns out the violin was always the key.
I wonder how much of our tastes and things we are drawn to can be traced back to the roots of our heritage. Roots we don’t even know we have.
Have you ever researched your family history? What interesting discoveries have you made?