Ethnic holidays, such as St. Patrick's Day for those of Irish ancestry, often spur an interest in family history.
According to the New York Times, the Irish diaspora in the United States alone numbers more than 36 million people, more than eight times Ireland's population. And this isn't even counting the descendants of Irish immigrants in countries around the world.
In large cities with many Irish descendants, such as New York and Boston to name just two, the day is celebrated by great parades. Traffic lane lines are painted green and green beer is served in bars. Parade-goers and others celebrating often wear green hats, ties or other items indicating their ancestry, such as pins or T-shirts reading "Kiss me. I'm Irish."
Many bars and restaurants will feature corned beef and cabbage or other Irish delicacies, along with that once-a-year green beer.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, MyHeritage is offering free access to its Irish collection of some 600,000 Irish immigration records to the Port of New York, covering the years 1846-1851, which includes the Irish Potato Famine period. Immigration records and passenger manifests offer a wealth of family information. Read more here.