Recently, I read some research suggesting that not only physical characteristics but actual cultural influences can alter our genes and dna and be passed down in families. Which seems to answer my questions about why I was always crazy mad for all things Irish.

I have always felt like the Emerald Isle was somehow embedded in my psyche, just waiting for a trigger to stir it up, and make my heart feel happy and my feet want to dance a jig. Like hearing this song on the radio in my kid days.

‘When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, ’tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

I was so delighted, when I discovered on my mothers side of the family, my Great Grandmother was Irish, because now I had an explanation for this big part of me. Ever since that time, I have been retracing my Irish ancestors from, Clogher, County Tyrone, Ireland, to New Zealand.

It has been a satisfying labor of love for my future generations, encompassing, much difficultly, long hours of time consuming research and financial cost that is still nowhere complete.

Blogging about my life, got me realizing the potentially huge numbers of people using and gave me the bright idea to write up what I know so far about my Irish roots, in the hopes of finding more connections.

Great Grandmother Mary McCann married Henry McKeigney at the Eskragh Roman Catholic Chapel in the Parish of Clogher in County Tyrone on the 23rd of January in the year 1876.

Parents of the groom were, John McKeigney and Hannah McCallum.

Parents of the bride were, Thomas McCann and Rosanna Campbell, m 20th November 1855, Clogher, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

Mary McCann’s Siblings were, John McCann b1859, Rosanna McCann b1861, Thomas McCann b1865, Teresa McCann b1868, Patrick McCann b1873, Joseph McCann b1876.

There is a family story, that because of the religious differences, the newly weds, Mary McCann a Catholic, and Henry McKeigney a Protestant, ran away to emigrate, chased by Mary’s brothers with guns trying to get her back.

Mary McCann’s feistiness, definitely must account for her future descendants turning out to be very strong women.

They embarked for New Zealand from, Gravesend London, on the 29th,July, 1876, on the ship, ‘HOWRAH’. Also on the passenger list was Henry’s sister Catherine McKeigney. They landed at Nelson in the November of 1876, a four month journey.

'howrah' arrival

The name McKeigney can also be spelt McKegney, McKagney, McCagney and many more variations.