My nine year old daughter, Tyrah, is enthralled with anything Irish. We have no idea how this happened, but she was excited when her genealogist grandmother told her that she was Irish. Anything green brings a respinse of "Irish" from her. The other day my Mom mailed this letter to her. I think this is a great way to get young people interested in their family history. Genealogy Grandmothers can do something similar and spark that interest.
April 24th in the year of our Lord 2008
Good day wee one named Tyrah,
This is your great, great, great, great grandfather, Patrick Cosgrove decidin' to write you a letter, I am. I hear in a round about way from yer granny Ruby that you are interested in the Irish. As luck would have ye are Irish me lass.
You see, I was born on June 18th in the year of our Lord 1821 in Galway, Ireland. That's along the sea, just as beautiful as can be. But, I was not destined to remain out my life there. When I was a young man in me 20's there came a famine big as could be all over Ireland. Such ye never seen and I'd hope to never see again in me life time.
We Irish, me folks and all, raised potatoes as tenant farmers. Things were goin' along good until in September of the ear of our Lord 1845 when the potato plants just' up and turned black. The leaves curled up and rotted. There came some winds from England that carried that fungus all over the place and the blight did spread. Oh that blight just went all over and we all began to suffer from it. People were hungry and potatoes were our only crops to provide us a livin'.
The only thing we could do was go where we could live and work. Hearing about that great country known as America, I decided to leave me folks and cross the ocean. Oh it was a long trip over those stormy seas. The boat tossed that turned, but I knew there was no other way for me to survive.
Once I got her to America I went to the state called Illinois. I found work and a wife named Maria Regan, Irish lass she was, in Putnam County. In 1852 we were married and Maria and I farmed, had children and went to the Catholic Church here. Never once, mind you, did we forget our homeland of Ireland. I could all me life see those green fields, before the blight and famine, the sea crashing against the rocks in Galway.
Maria and I had eleven children. One of our lasses we named Theresa Mary. She was born in 1867 after the great Civil War here on this soil. Theresa became yer great, great, great grandmother, lass. She married a German lad named Henry Kunkel who lived here in Putnam County.
Yer granny Ruby is so proud of you lass. Maria and I hope you'll always be proud of yer Irish blood flowin' through yer veins. You' make a might fine lass to dance the Irish jig in Galway, with those lovely locks of hir flowing. Before Maria and I died we had hoped to return to see Ireland again, but we never did. It would have been a fine day indeed had we seen our folk and friends.
Love and luck indeed to ye lass,