In Ireland, cousins matter, In Ireland we love our cousins. We may argue and disagree, but when we can we help each other out. We may not see each other for years but we are still cousins. We are spread all over the world but we celebrate the birth of a new cousin and we are sad when a cousin dies. I remember my cousins as I build our family tree. I honour all our fathers and mothers and their fathers and mothers. I am happy to do this. I believe it matters. I know it matters to me when my family and friends remember my daughter Hannah who died at birth.
So what is my answer then to the question 'why is a white Irish woman researching People of Colour genealogy?' My answer is simple. These men and women are my cousins. I will research and remember them just as I remember all my other cousins. We are connected by blood and in some cases now, by friendship.
Long ago, they were written out of my family tree, and this is true for most of us. Our cousins of colour were written out, never openly acknowledged if acknowledged at all. But now we have a wonderful opportunity to change that. We can begin to write their names back in. We can be the generation who will open the records hidden in the attic. We can be the ones who will face the hard history and not shy away from the actions of our ancestors. For some of us this means being willing to have uncomfortable conversations. But for many more it simply means including our cousins' names in our family tree. And what's difficult about that?
Copyright MBrennanKerry 2019
As part of my commitment to my new-found cousins I am a member of The Beyond Kin Project.
This blog reflects my own feelings about the work.
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