Ancestry discovers the roots of Colbert’s passion for hockey.
He’s accused Canada of cheating at the Winter Olympics. He’s referred to Canadians as “Godless” and “Syrup Suckers.” He believes Canada is Obama’s America and supports an American-based Ontario Hockey League team, claiming a war of Good vs. Evil between his beloved Saginaw Spirit and their Canadian adversaries. But what Stephen Colbert may not know is that he’s as Canadian as the maple tree and universal healthcare.
Researchers at Ancestry.com made the shocking discovery that the right-wing pundit of “truthiness” and opponent of social welfare has not one, but two paternal relatives who lived, worked, and even passed on in the Great White North.
James Quinn, Stephen’s great-great-grandfather, was born in Ireland in 1830. At some point James, like millions before and after, set sail looking for a better life in Canada.
According to his 1851 Census record, James Quinn lived and worked as a labourer in Frontenac County near Kingston, Ontario, which coincidentally is a noted hotbed of hockey and home to proud Canadian and hockey icon, Don Cherry. James’ daughter Angeline Quinn married George William Colbert, Stephen’s great-grandfather.
Mary Skelton (nee Mary Ann Gurry) is another paternal ancestor of Stephen’s. Also born in Ireland, she was Stephen’s great-great-grandmother. She immigrated to the United States, where she would meet her future husband Creighton Skelton.
What happened next is unclear, but at some point Mary ended up moving north of the border, where she would live out her last days.
According to her Ontario death certificate, Mary Skelton passed away on June 29, 1880, in Haldimand County, near the shores of Lake Erie. Mary and Creighton’s daughter Elizabeth Skelton married Hugh Tormey. Their daughter Mary Tormey married James W. Colbert Sr—Stephen’s grandfather.
Karen Peterson of Ancestry.com notes: “As Stephen himself admits, he has little time for facts, logic or information… He prefers to feel the truth rather than look it up in historical records.
“However, we are confident that if he searches his soul deep down the truthiness of his Canadian heritage will be too powerful to deny.”