Turns out I'm a Scot! Would you like to see the family castle?? Of course it's much fancier nowadays than it would have started out... :)
I sent an email to my father a few days ago, as I'd recalled a long-ago story that we were of Irish descent and had a castle in the family, at some point long ago. Well, that was too vague and has been a hovering question in my mind recently (did we have Irish roots or not?) , so I emailed Dad and asked him to clarify the old story.
He replied back that it's not Ireland, it's Scotland, and he explained the genealogy of how we go back (yes, I should have asked earlier, but we don't get the chance to talk that often).
So.... it turns out that I, through my Dad, and him through his Dad, and him through his Grandma, are direct descendants of Clan Ross of the Scottish Highlands. WOW. And we did in fact have a castle in the family (there was a clan chief in our Rosses for about 300 years) which is called Balnagown Castle (traditional spelling is Balnagowan). The castle still stands, in Kildary, Ross-shire, as an estate.
The current owner, an Egyptian millionaire (ever hear of Harrods? That's the man) lets out the surrounding cottages in the summer for high-paying guests, from what I understand, and the castle is his summer home. The castle was actually still in the family up until 1972, when the taxes were too high and the family could no longer afford them... that is when the new owner bought the castle and has really done a beautiful job of fixing it back up again, restoration, and repair.
With the name provided by my Dad, I was able to locate photos and the website for the castle. I would love to visit someday, even to walk around! I always wondered what that branch of the family tree held, and it feels very good to finally have details. Scottish! Imagine! My husband said to me when he found out, "Well that explains a lot!!" Wonder what the hell does he mean by that? HA! And you know what? When I found out, not only was I very happy, but also it struck a very familiar, comfortable sort of cord... I mean, almost like my mind went, WELL OF COURSE! As if I had known all along (but I hadn't)..... Interesting.
So like all of us, I'm a great blend... Portuguese and Scottish on my Dad's side, Russian/Latvian and Canadian on my Mom's side, and here I am a blended American married to a Canadian who's family is French. Cue the music.... it's a small world, after all! I'm going to start saving nickels for a trip to Scotland. Should have enough nickels by the time I'm 50 or so.
Oh and... also we had a big sinkhole in my side yard between 2 pine trees. Looks so deep my kids' friends are joking it's a portal to Narnia. We're investigating the "why". But more on that later! :)
Have a good day!