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 aspect of the holiday is observed today as well.

But, genealogically 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. My records 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 for 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 at this point, but it seems clear she is one of the strong women of whom I have many scattered throughout the tree.

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