While embarking on a journey to Ireland in search of my family’s heritage I am reminded how lucky and blessed we are to live in the United States of America.
We are rich beyond compare. Especially when we reflect on what our forefathers had to endure to insure our freedom. We are free because of their bravery.
In researching the plight of Ireland and the conditions they worked and lived in, it is amazing we can simply get on a plane to fly to the Old Country.
When our Irish grandparents and great grandparents came to the New World it was a minimum seven day voyage.
On the sailing vessels pre-dating the great steamers it was a three month adventure across the Atlantic.
I am Michael Edward Sexton (born in 1956). Son of Robert William (1923-1994) of the Bronx and grandson of James Jerome (1898-1975) of the Bronx.
James Jerome was the first generation Irish-American in our lineage.
His father was Michael Edward (1873-1940) who came to America in 1891 on a journey from Ireland.
At just 17 years old he had to be eager for a new life in the new world where millions of Irishmen emigrated to. The journey from the northern hills of Ireland to the docks of Queenstown must have taken him weeks or possibly months to find the ships heading to America.
From what we have been able to gather through genealogical research Michael E was a laborer and son of a farmer in County Longford.
We also know that Michael E married an Irish girl he met in Lower Manhattan and had seven boys and two girls including their first, James Jerome.
Her name was Mary Gallagher (1870-1956) from County Roscommon and she sailed to the new world in 1888. She was just 17 or 18 years old.
Our next seven days in Ireland will hopefully shine new light on where they came from and how we got to where we are today.
(Continue on to In Search of Michael E – Part 2)