findmypast.ie, the Irish family history website, has confirmed Walt Disney's long-rumoured Irish roots.
The cartoonist who has brought some of the world's most famous characters, including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, to life, has long been rumoured to have ancestry traceable back to Kilkenny in the south-east of Ireland. Now Dublin based website findmypast.ie has uncovered documents clearly showing the family's links to the small parish of Rathbeagh.
Walt Disney's great-grandfather Arundel Elias Disney was born in Kilkenny c.1801. In 1832 Arundel Elias married Maria Swan who gave birth to their son Kepple Disney, Walt Disney's grandfather, on the 2nd of November of the same year. Arundel and Maria would go on to have 16 children, including Kepple.
In 1834 Arundel and his family reached America and eventually settled in southwestern Ontario, Canada. Elias Disney, Walt's father, was born to Kepple and his wife Mary Richardson in 1859.
The documents uncovered by findmypast.ie clearly show Kepple's rental of 33 acres of land in the parish of Rathbeagh, with further documents showing the Disney family's sale of lands in Clone, Co.Kilkenny, possibly before their departure to America.
Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said: "People can be forgiven for not readily identifying the cartoonist's roots as his surname doesn't have a very Irish ring to it. Disney is derived from the Normandy French name D'Isigny and it is believed the family is descended from Norman's who came to Ireland in 1691. So you see, Disney's Irish ancestry was not a Mickey Mouse story after all. It's amazing what you can find out about your own family history when you delve into the records."
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Findmypast.ie is the world's most comprehensive Irish family history website, providing easy-to-search, online access to some of the most significant Irish records that have ever been made available, including military records and records detailing the 1901 census Ireland. The site also offers a free family tree builder which stores all the names in a user's tree securely in one place, allowing access from any computer at any time.This new site is a joint venture between two experts in the field: findmypast.co.uk, one of the leading family history websites and part of the brightsolid family, while Eneclann is an award-winning Trinity College Campus Company specialising in genealogical and historical research and the publication of historical records.
Based in Dublin, findmypast.ie has a dedicated team committed to providing the best experience possible when researching Irish family history.
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