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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Family Traits

In my quest to find out about my family lineage, I often wonder where some of my own personal traits come from.  There are physical and personality traits that I often wonder about.  I am no scientist but have taken enough science in my lifetime to be "dangerous".  I have to laugh because I certainly don't know how scientific this post will be but it does include things that I wonder about. 

For starters,  I sometimes wonder where my blond hair and blue eyes came from.  My dad's side of the family is where it is obvious that the blond hair and blue eyes originate.  You can see that in family photos.  I totally look like a McGuire/Hickey.  My father was at least 7/8th's Irish and maybe 1/8th Dutch.  The Dutch is a rumor for sure but let's just say Romaine is not Irish.   So is that it, do I get my physical characteristics from my Dad's side?   That is definitely not the whole story.

My German side of the family is loaded with tall and short slender, blond haired (when young), and blue eyed people.  In fact, I think everyone has blue eyes.  I could be wrong on that but not likely for those who are blood relatives.  I do know that the Vienop's were/are not tall people.

My mother's other half (one half is German) is Irish.  In fact, it is these Irish that I blog about.  So, do I look like a Flanagan, McLaughlin, Maxwell, O'Brien, Gartland, Fox, Shaffrey, Bellew, Kirwan, or a Maguire?  I have met relatives on the Flanagan side.  I do look like one of my somewhat distant cousins according to her parents. 

I have a tough time trying to figure out exactly who my grandfather, Richard Flanagan, looked like.  My mom always said that he looked like his father, Jack Flanagan.  When I look at Jack, I do see some of his features in my grandfather but see more of Mary "Minnie" McLaughlin's in him.  The dark hair and green/hazel eyes elude me some.  I do not know what color Minnie's eyes were.  I do know that based on Jack's WWI draft registration card that he was tall, slender, had blue eyes, and brown hair.  In Jack's and  Minnie's wedding photo, she looks rather short and petite with dark hair.

I did have a McLaughlin researcher who has also done a lot of research on the Maxwell's indicate that the Maxwell's appear to be generally shorter in stature while the McLaughlin's were tall.   I still wonder where that almost jet black (very dark brown) hair came from that my grandfather (Richard Flanagan) had.  In fact, his hair was that dark on top until he passed away at the age of 88 and he did not have any male pattern baldness.

I sometimes wonder who I look like and then remind myself that I probably look like a combination of many of my Irish ancestors.   There's no escaping it and why would I want to.  If you figure that I'm about 70% Irish in descent, with the Scottish Maxwell from 1786 included, then I must look Irish.

When it comes to physical traits, there are the not so obvious ones.  For example, I do have type 0 blood.  That is so common in the United Kingdom and Ireland.  Another trait that may not be so obvious or go unnoticed is that I am left-handed.  I have read that some scientists believe that trait is not a genetic trait handed down while others believe it is.  My grandfather, Richard Flanagan, is my only known left-handed relative.  In school, he was forced to write with his right hand but did everything else as a lefty including sports.  So, who are my left-handed relatives?  I feel and sound rather solo on this topic right now.

When it comes to personality traits, I do believe that many are learned but some must be inherent to the individual's genetic makeup.  Whether they are physical or personality traits, family traits overall that are passed down from generation to generation do interest me.  It would be fascinating to have more details of relatives who came before.  At best, I know the physical and personality traits of my grandparents.


  1. I've recently received an email from a cousin who has indicated she is lefthanded too along with another cousin. At this point, it is clear that my grandfather, Richard Flanagan, is the side of my family where this trait originates. It is still not clear if that would be the Flanagan or McLaughlin line.

  2. I, Tille Borcher's G-grand daughter am blue eyed and blond haired. My dad's side (Borcher-Weber)are tall, but not necessarily thin :-) We are, however scientifically and mechanically inclined. Did you know that 50% of left handers are Dyslexic (my daughter and husband), while only 20% of the population are. They are often very artistic, tho.

    SaDawna McCart-Stebben

  3. Well, my somewhat distant relative....maybe some of the lefthandedness does come from the Borchers side. I haven't come across any Dyslexia on my side but my hubby's side does hvae lefties that are dyslexic. That is very interesting for sure. Thank you for posting!!!