Welcome (Céad Míle Fáilte!) to Small-leaved Shamrock


I'm Lisa (otherwise known as Smallest Leaf).

My name is Lisa. I use the pen name Smallest Leaf here on the web. I've been researching my family's story for more than a quarter of a century. (You can read a little background at Why do I trace my family tree?) 

Back in 2007, I began writing several blogs about various branches of my family tree. I began blogging to share with my extended family what I had learned. (See The Gift of the Photograph: Uniting Families With Their History for the full story.) I found that my readers often included many outside my family: those with a connection to the places, cultures and other subjects that I write about. My hope is that as I continue to write I will help to encourage my extended family and many others, particularly young people, to gain a better understanding and appreciation of their own place in history.

Welcome to Small-leaved Shamrock!

Inspired by my abundant and endlessly fascinating Cowhey family ancestors of Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, I began Small-leaved Shamrock to tell the stories and the tales of the region, of its anthracite coal-mining, and of several well-known railroads that hail from the area. This part of Pennsylvania helped shape America into what it is today through the blood, sweat and tears of many immigrants (including numerous Irish). We owe a debt of gratitude for their hard work as laborers and their service to the nation during the Civil War. My focus here is also to rejoice in the love of Ireland. I hope to continue to learn and share more about my family's origins in Ireland (in County Cork, Limerick and Tipperary) and the Irish culture in general.   

The inspiration for the name Small-leaved Shamrock came from this poem by an anonymous poet named only S.M.E. published in March 1921 in The Catholic World

The Gift of Shamrocks 

He took the small-leaved shamrock from his breast 
As though it were a diamond-mounted crest 
And gave with eyes grown deep with love and pride 
And as I took the gift of mystic green I knew 
He saw, not me, but fields brushed by the dew 
That lay, so green, his mother's home beside. 
And still each year I take from that kind hand 
The dainty leaves sent from far Ireland 
Though sorrowing time has come and stood between. 
Still see the tear-dimmed eyes, the glance so true; 
Through them behold the hills I never knew: 
The Irish hills where grow the shamrocks green.


Small-leaved Shamrock is the birthplace of the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, a compendium of “all things Irish” on many a topic. See a compilation of the first twenty editions of the carnival here.

Where else to find me on the web...

My other blogs focus on my Hungarian/Croatian side of the family: those who passed through Ellis Island to make their homes in New York and beyond (100 Years in America); and my Irish Boston and Quincy, Massachusetts ancestors who emigrated after the famine (A Light That Shines Again). I am also a regular contributor to The Catholic Gene, a blog focused on the Catholic connection to the search for family history.

If you'd like to catch up with me on email, social networking sites, or elsewhere on the web, visit smallestleaf.com.

I choose not to write too much about myself on my various family history blogs. The preservation of the stories of my family's deeper history are usually my focus. However, you can learn a little more about me at The view from my corner of the world.

You might also enjoy reading the Geneabloggers' article: May I Introduce You to Smallest Leaf. (Thanks to Thomas MacEntee and Gini Webb for highlighting my blogs.)

Visit GeneaBloggers Radio Irish Roots Edition to hear me and others celebrate Irish heritage on Thomas MacEntee's St. Patrick's Day show. You can also download the program as a free podcast from iTunes.

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments, so please write!

Lisa / Smallest Leaf

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