Some Fun Family History

For some reason I’m not quite sure of, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my ancestors and family history. My sister is the genealogist and has many binders full of information that I don’t have access to at the moment as she lives a couple of hours away.

I don’t remember how now, but yesterday I stumbled across some history of the Collins clan in Ireland. I know that my mother’s family came from Ireland. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Collins.

Clan information from

Apparently, there are sweater patterns for different clans. I don’t really know how legit this is, but I like it anyway. My family heritage is mostly German and Irish. I have only recently been interested in the Irish side since I only recently discovered how Irish I truly am. I’m a lot of German as well, apparently. My dad was only second generation American, as is my husband whose grandfather also came from Germany. Not that that has any bearing on my genealogy, just an interesting side note.

My mother’s family has been here since before the Civil War. Soap makers, I’m told. My sister likes to relay that information because she sees the irony in the fact that the Irish were thought of as “dirty” back in the day. I always thought of them as alcoholic leprechauns, basically. Happy-go-lucky when they weren’t drunk and fighting. A stereotype, I know, and I apologize.

I found a website called “” and a little more information on the Collins clan history, according to these people anyway.

History can be a little sketchy at times, and sources are very important. I don’t know the legitimacy of this source, but I kind of like the idea of coming from Barons and Lords. I always felt like there was something regal about my mother, grandmother, AND great grandmother. They all carried themselves with a sense of grace and aristocracy. They were very classy ladies and that’s the truth.

I love the fact that I see both German and Irish in my sons. Joshua resembles his dad; blonde hair, blue eyes, more chiseled features. They both look very German to me.

German actor Til Schweiger
Rich Lenz
Joshua Lenz

Then there’s my Matt-Man. My strapping young Irishman who resembles me; dark hair, blue eyes, chubby cheeks. Not all Irish are redheads. Many are dark haired and blue-eyed.

Irish actor Colin O’Donoghue
Me (Brenda Miller Lenz / Collins on my mother’s side)
Matt in his senior year of high school

Just some fun observations. Genealogy can be a complicated thing and I don’t think many of us are pure-breeds. For instance, my mother’s maiden name was Carr. That name has three different origins; Northern England, Scotland, and Ireland. So, I could have some English or Scottish, or both sprinkled in there somewhere. It’s all very interesting and requires A LOT of time and research. I’ve only done a little skimming here, just having some fun, and all or some of it may or may not be completely accurate.

What I DO know, as a result of my sister’s diligent and tireless efforts is that my mother’s family came from Ireland and My dad’s from Germany. I know more about Germany than Ireland and I am having a lot of fun remedying that.

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