The Irish in Us

A couple of years ago, I had a DNA test through Ancestry.com to learn my ethnic origins and try to find distant cousins who might have additional information for our family tree. My results showed 70% Great Britain, 13% Western Europe, and 9% Ireland with the remaining 8% in Scandinavia, Iberian Peninsula, and Eastern Europe. I forwarded my DNA raw data from Ancestry to familytreedna.com to see what their test results would show: 75% British Isles (includes Ireland), 17% Scandinavia, 5% Eastern Europe, and 3% Finland. Through GEDmatch, another DNA website that matches distant cousins, my results were too complicated to discuss here. Take all with a grain of salt!

Anyway, I said all that to say this. We have Irish blood running through our veins via Grandmother Mable Cousins’s maternal family line! Raise your glasses for an Irish toast:

Slainte!
To all the days here and after
May they be filled with
fond memories, happiness, and laughter.

Grandmother’s mother was Susie Elizabeth Williams (1873-1961), daughter of Eli Fletcher Williams (1838-1923), son of Mary Hollingsworth Truesdel (1801-1878), daughter of James Rembert Truesdel (1767- ca.1859) who came to America from Ireland as a child with his parents, John Hollingsworth Truesdel (ca.1743- 1806) and Mary Holly Hollingsworth (ca.1745-1815) in 1772.

Last winter I made contact with one of our very distant cousins who’s an expert on all lines of the Truesdel (Truesdale) and Williams families from Kershaw and Lancaster Counties, SC. She put me in touch with another non-blood distant relative who has a massive family tree database, meticulously documented and sourced. (He was a former librarian). So I decided to find out more about these ancestors with a road trip last spring to South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia. It was a wonderfully interesting trip with absolutely beautiful scenery!

Gravestone of John Truesdale (1769-1854), Hanging Rock United Methodist Church, Lancaster County, SC
Gravestone of John Truesdel (1769-1854), Hanging Rock United Methodist Church, Lancaster County, SC

I did some research in the courthouses, libraries and archives along the way. I visited Hanging Rock Methodist Church in a very rural area outside Kershaw, SC, with the help of my GPS and saw the old weathered tombstone of our 4X great-uncle, John Truesdel. After trekking all over the church cemetery, I’m sorry to say I never found the gravesite of our 4X great-grandparents, James Rembert and Rebecca (Ussery) Truesdel. Many of the stones were too old and weathered to read.

Most of my Truesdale family information comes from South Carolina genealogist and author Hazel Parker Jones who wrote three volumes of The Samuel Jones Family, Kershaw County, South Carolina, 1750-1990, Including Allied Families. She sourced and documented her facts and corrected errors with each volume (1979, 1982, and 1991).

The Scotch-Irish or English-Irish (depending on the source) Truesdels (Truesdales) had lived in Northern Ireland in County Down, Clonduff Parish. The Hollingsworths were from Annahunshigo, Drumballyroney, County Down, Northern Ireland. John, Mary and children sailed to America aboard the Free Mason which arrived in Charleston, SC, in December 1772. They were part of a contingent of Covenanter Presbyterians who followed Rev. William Martin on five ships emigrating from Ireland to Colonial America.1

Upon arrival, John had been promised 250 acres of prime land, but he couldn’t afford the bounty price so had to choose lesser quality land further inland. He didn’t do a bad job because it is beautiful in the northern part of SC close to the NC state line, although maybe a bit rocky for quality farming. He brought his family to an area called Flat Rock near Heath Springs. John later served 40 days as a private in the South Carolina Militia during the Revolutionary War under Capt. Amos Horton, one of our Virginia ancestors. 2 Also living in this north-central area of SC were our Williams, Horton, and Ussery ancestors.

Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
Rolling hills near Killarney, Ireland
Rolling hills near Killarney, Ireland

Last summer, I made a trip to the Republic of Ireland and saw scenery so beautiful it was surreal. Tears filled my eyes many times just looking at it. This July, I’m traveling to Scotland. But one day, I hope to go to Northern Ireland to see the land of our ancestors. It would be wonderful if Mable McCune’s grandchildren could take that trip together!

 

Irish Blessing

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.

celtic-shamrock

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all!!

  1. Jones, Hazel Parker, Book Three of The Samuel Jones Family: Kershaw County, South Carolina, 1750-1990, Including Allied Families (Kershaw, South Carolina: Hazel Parker Jones, 1991), 181.
  2.  Jones, Hazel Parker, Book Three of The Samuel Jones Family: Kershaw County, South Carolina, 1750-1990, Including Allied Families, 181.

2 Comments

  1. Anna Wilson said:

    What a great story and pictures for St. Patricks Day! And I can say I have Irish blood!
    Thanks Mom!

    March 17, 2016
    Reply
    • Christine Ellington said:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

      March 17, 2016
      Reply

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