She had red hair and freckles.
Nothing could be more Irish than a red-haired, freckle-faced girl named Maggie O'dean, and yet we were always told that the O'dean name had come from a changed Norse name: Odin.
It seems that when the Swedish and Norwegian family first came to America, they settled into a community of Swedes who were quite puritanical and the Norwegian name Odin didn't go over too well there.
The new American colony of Swedes viewed it as evil.
So the patriarch of the family went out and changed it to a more socially acceptable one.
The Irish were well-established in the area,
so an apostrophized version seemed like a good choice.
I never thought I was Irish.
Then my daughter got a DNA test for her birthday.
Well guess what: turns out I'm Irish after all!
Not a huge percentage, but enough to explain my love for Guinness.
And now I think we know where my mom got her red hair and freckles.
I asked some of my staff in Newport to get me a suitable photo for this holiday, and was quite pleased with this photo of the green-floored gondola and our own Eddie McRivera on the back.
photo by Evan O'Kliewer
So on this, my 52nd year, I finally know the truth about exactly where my ancestors came from.
And I wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day!