In 1849, Thomas William Maloy married Anna Kenny, somewhere in County Roscommon, Ireland. They soon departed Eire’s green shores for a better life in America, settling on a small farm in Upstate New York.
The Maloys—along with untold other Irish ancestors known and unknown—left all they knew and loved for the great unknown. Thomas & Anna were certainly pushed by the Great Famine, when the population of Ireland declined by 20-25%. However, all took a great risk to move forward to give their descendents—I and my family—a chance at a better life.
They left behind the clans who’d been together a thousand years
With music and the memories ringing in their ears
They brought with them tradition and the will to work and die
In the land known for freedom, soil and sky
–The Elders, 1849
We have been very fortunate that Maloys still in New York recorded the facts and stories of Thomas and his brother and their children. We know they came from County Roscommon via Canada. We know that writers say the Molloy name in Connacht is typically derived from “O Maoil Aodha, ‘descendant of the devoteee of (St) Aodh’, from maol, literally ‘bald’, a reference to the distinctive tonsure sported by early Irish monks.” We know that no Maloys were left by the time our American family went looking in the old country, although that hasn’t stopped us from continuing the quest to better understand where we come from.
So, this St. Patrick’s Day, as we lift a Guinness and sing Danny Boy, save a quiet moment to remember our Elders, the one’s who gave so much when we deserve so little.
(Originally posted 17 March 2009.)