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)


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