SHARON OSBOURNE has become the latest celebrity to discover previously unheralded Irish roots as part of an investigation into her ancestry for the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?
Have I Got News for You comedian Paul Merton previously discovered his maternal grandfather fought for both the IRA and British army during the early part of the 20th century.
And there were similar revelations for Ozzy Osbourne’s other half, who learned more about her own family history and a previously unknown link to the United States.
According to The Independent, the former X Factor judge Osbourne’s great grandmother, Annie O’Donnell, was born in the U.S. in 1868.
Annie endured incredible hardship there.
Daughter to an Irish father and English mother, Annie’s parents emigrated to America in order to escape the poverty of the Irish famine.
However, their American dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
Emigrating to Fall River, Massachusetts, the family encountered conditions that were somehow even worse than those they left behind.
Resigned to a life of squalor, Annie’s parents worked in a local cotton mill while, tragically, Annie was the only one of the O’Donnell’s six children to live beyond the age of three.
Annie’s mother Mary, meanwhile, also died young with Osbourne’s great-great grandmother succumbing to tuberculosis, aged just 35.
In the wake of her death, Annie and her father decided to move back to England.
Osbourne said: “They come over here, they give up their lives, they give up their families, and come to another land for a better life and they get here and it’s just a hell hole, a horrible existence for young people who were enticed here then trapped, basically.”
“I just hope she found some happiness when she moved back to the north of England,” she concluded.
“All these women in the family suffered, all of them. But they didn’t give up, and I don’t, really. I must’ve inherited that from Annie.”
“I’m proud that my family came from nothing”.