Get Your Green On: A Brief Look At My Irish Ancestry

Love family Irish ancestors (thumbnail)

Today is the day we all look for a bit of Irish in ourselves. We wear green, go out to eat, and throw back a pint (or 10, perhaps, if you’re really Irish). I personally like to spin some Cranberries, Sinéad O’Connor, and U2. Historically, of course, these celebrations are rooted in Christian tradition and that asepct of the holiday is observed today as well.

But, geneaogically speaking, I’ve got Irish in me every day of the year! My Irish ancestry comes into play in the Love and Keown lines of my lineage. Just this week I got back my AncestryDNA test results and this confirmed my Irish (and British Isles in general) pedigree. My DNA is made up of 67% British Isles and 33% Central European ethnicities. This aligns pretty perfectly with what I already knew from my research. (It also suggests I do not have Native American ancestors as told in stories passed down by my grandfather–that will be a topic for a future post.)

As for those strands of Irish DNA…

My ancestor James Alexander Keown (1744-1816) is said to have been born in County Down, Ulster, Ireland. This information is taken from shared member trees on I have not yet been able to verify/document this detail. The records I do have for James place him in South Carolina in 1779 and again in 1783 (Jackson). His son Alexander Keown (1783-1822) also lived in South Carolina and died there in 1822 (Young). His wife, Elizabeth Puthuff (1788-1883), survived him by many years and migrated to the Armuchee Valley area of Walker County, Georgia along with several of her children. I do not know much about Elizabeth’s life a this point but it seems clear she is one of the strong women of whom I have many scattered throughout the tree.

The Loves came over from Ireland a little later than the Keowns and are in fact the most recent immigrants of all my lines. John Love (1778-1880) is the patriarch in this line along with his wife Elizabeth McCarter (1795-1880). Like the Keowns, I have no records of John or Elizabeth’s life in Ireland. However, the 1850 and 1870 US censuses do show the Emerald Isle as both John and Elizabeth’s place of birth (, 1850 & 1870). The memory of an Irish identity is better preserved in this line. Mary Ann Lowe wrote that “[her] grandfather, George Washington Love, son of McCarter Love, remembered going to visit John and Elizabeth and hearing them speak in [Irish] Gaelic when they didn’t want the children to understand them” (Lowe 1).

The above photos are of John and Elizabeth (click to enlarge). The original tintypes were digitized and shared via by Love descendant Nita Henry. Thank you, Nita!

I look forward to delving into more research about both the Loves and Keowns and their Irish roots. If you know anything about these lines, particularly if you can help document facts about the immigrant generations, please get in touch.

Today I remember my Irish ancestors and raise a glass in their honor. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!


SOURCES 1850 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Web.
John Love family: Year: 1850; Census Place: Subdivision 33, Gilmer, Georgia; Roll: M432_70; Page: 439B; Image: 411. 1870 United States Federal Census. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Web.
John Love family: Year: 1870; Census Place: District 12, Whitfield, Georgia; Roll: M593_183; Page: 146A; Image: 296; Family History Library Film: 545682.

Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. South Carolina Census, 1790-1890. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999. Web.

Lowe, Mary Ann. Some Descendants of John and Elizabeth Love of Ireland. Self-published, 1996. Print.

Young, Willie Pauline. Abstracts of Old Ninety-Six and Abbeville District Wills and Bonds as on file in the Abbeville, South Carolina, Courthouse. Greenville, SC: Southern Historical Press, 1977. Print. WorldCat.

6 Responses to “Get Your Green On: A Brief Look At My Irish Ancestry”

  1. Harold Keown says:

    I am a decendent of Thomas Keown, brother of James Alexander Keown. I have the entire history along with a Heraldic shield.
    Be glad to share.

    • Hello Harold. Thanks for getting in touch. I would love to learn more about Thomas Keown. I will reach out to you via email.

    • Kelly Keown says:

      I am 5th gen grandson of James Alexander. My great grandfather was named after his brother Thomas. His name was Thomas Allen Keown. Email me some details if you have any or just to chat.

    • Mary Keown-Watkins says:

      I am also a descendant of Thomas Keown.

  2. Elaine Keown says:

    Elaine Keown

    Dear Jordan:

    Is your last name Keown?

    I don’t know where you got your DNA tested.
    A man from Ireland who knows about the earlier stages of the Keowns/and other related names wrote me. He thinks there are 2 different groups of people with similar names.

    My father, E.R. Keown, died 6 years ago, and I don’t know any Keown males at this point. I am definitely descended from Thomas Keown via people in Kentucky who moved to Texas about 1908. I am related to Keowns in Georgia also.


    • Hi Elaine,

      My last name is not Keown. I am descended from James Alexander Keown though. Harold Keown (who also commented on this post) is a descendant of James Alexander’s brother, Thomas Keown (the one you mentioned you descend from).

      I had my DNA tested with


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