Friday, March 14, 2014

Irish Connections and Questions

Close to St. Patrick's Day, I am always reminded of my Irish heritage, though many questions remain. My third great grandfather, Patrick Larkins, came with his father Daniel Larkins to the United States about 1830. They lived first in Connecticut, and then settled on a farm in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio. A distant cousin told us that according to family lore, they were originally from County Tipperary, but we have no documentation. Supposedly Daniel's wife died young, and he re-married in America. Mom always said that after the funerals for members of the Larkins family, there was a big dinner, with lots of eating and drinking and storytelling. Pictured below are four generations of my Larkins ancestors:

In the picture, taken in 1941, are: my great great grandfather, Thomas Francis Larkins, my great grandmother, Irene Larkins Risko, my grandmother, Doris Wheeler Parker, and my mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski. Mom always hoped to go to County Tipperary. She had a notion that if she went to enough Catholic churches there, she may be able to find a birth record for Patrick Larkins. She passed away before she got a chance to visit the Emerald Isle.
In a different line, are my Steen ancestors. According to the book THE STEEN FAMILY IN EUROPE AND AMERICA, Charles Armstrong Steen, my third great grandfather, was born in Armagh in Northern Ireland. Another cousin told me that according to the family legend, Charles wanted to marry a poor girl, and his parents did not approve, so he emigrated to the United States. He settled in Berlin Heights, Erie County, Ohio, and he married Sally Stevens, the daughter of a school teacher. My great great grandfather was Charles F. Steen, pictured below. Like Patrick Larkins, as an adult, he was a farmer in Perkins Township, Erie County, Ohio.

Charles F. Steen died before I was born, but Mom told me he was a generous, kind man, who dearly loved his family. His daughter, Ada Steen Parker, kept a clipping scrapbook and family pictures, and told my mother many family stories through the years. Mom passed that love of family down to me, and I joyfully tell those stories to  my children, grandchildren, and nieces and nephews, especially when they have a family history project for school or college! I am thankful for my Irish heritage, though of course, I wish I had more answers to my many questions! 

Happy St. Patrick's Day, a bit early!

No comments: