I’m a little late for St. Patrick’s Day but I have a little Irish tale of beginnings and endings.
Once upon a time, there lived an O’Neill named Thomas and his son Owen. The two men hailed from County Clare but, alas, life on the bonny Isle of Eire was not good. Potato blight and famine cursed the land.
Or, in my case, the Danish equivalent of John Smith: Jens Jensen, my paternal great-grandfather.
I know almost nothing about him: he came to the United States in 1900 with my great-grandmother, Thyra Amalia  Martinsen, and their son Oscar; by 1910 , he was farming in Platte, Nebraska and supporting a family of five–wife Amelia, and children Oscar (10), Johanna (7), Marie (6), and Florence (3); by 1920 he has disappeared–separated from my great-grandmother, perhaps divorced. There are stories of his drinking and squandering of money.
One hundred and three years ago today, my husband’s paternal grandmother was born. In wanting to write a tribute to her on her birthday, however, I realize that what I know about Ruth, in the genealogical sense, is very little.