Wednesday, April 27, 2016

U.S. Census Series: Ward 2, St. Louis, Missouri 1860

One of the recurring features of this blog is the U.S. Census Series, where I highlight the rare examples of Irish place of birth/origin recorded on census documents. To date, seven locations have been explored and they can be accessed at the Census Series page. This post is about Ward 2, St. Louis, Missouri in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.

St. Louis, Missouri 1871 Ward Map. Click to enlarge.[1]

We can be thankful to census enumerator Edward Thierry for going beyond the norm when gathering answers to the question 'Place of Birth, Naming the State, Territory or Country.' In total, he recorded an Irish county or place of birth for approximately 323 people. There were also a few other very interesting efforts by him to document place of birth, such as 'County Neals, Ireland,' 'Not Ascertained, Ireland' and 'Born at Sea, Ireland.' He collected this census information between 1 June and 31 July of that year.

Approx. No. of Entries
55 (incl. 3 Thurles, 1 Chermill [?], 2 Littleton)
29 (incl. 3 Bandon, 2 City, 2 Bantry)
15 (incl. 2 Oldcastle)
14 (incl. 1 Hedford)
6 (incl. 1 Kenmare)
4 (incl. 2 'Londy' possibly Londonderry)
4 (incl. 1 Newry)
3 (incl. 1 'Fardown' [?])
3 (3 Belfast)

Co Neals, Ireland
Born at Sea, Ireland
Portage, Ireland
Co City, Ireland
Co Casey, Ireland
Not ascertained, Ireland
Not known, Ireland

Final Total
He did not record the county of birth of every Irish born person he encountered, but we get a flavor of the Irish county makeup of the 2nd Ward of St. Louis. Tipperary and Cork feature the most, with counties Cavan, Dublin, Wexford, Limerick and Mayo all heavily featured. At least one person from every county in Ireland had their place of birth recorded.

[1] Tracey, J. L. Map Of The City Of St. Louis For Tracy's Guide To Missouri. 1871. Available online at David Rumsey Maps  accessed 23 May 2016.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Remittance Records from Deposit, New York

When a genealogist hears about ‘financial records’ and ‘the Irish in New York,’ they will more than likely think about the wonderful Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank records. It is a storied record set, due to the level of biographical information provided about those who deposited money with the bank.

An equally fascinating record set, which is considerably less well known, is the accounts of an immigrant financial agent in the town of Deposit, New York. This aptly named town is on the border of Broome and Delaware Counties, near the Pennsylvania state line.

Irish immigrants were attracted to Broome and Delaware counties by the prospect of employment in two main industries.[1] The New York & Erie railroad reached Deposit in 1848 and many Irish immigrants were involved in the building of the railroad to and from the town. There was also a considerable number of tanneries in the area and they offered various types of employment.

The records are located in the archives of the Deposit Historical Society and are from the years 1851 to 1860, inclusive. They contain the financial transactions of Irish immigrants sending remittance payments to people in Ireland. It is well known that millions of dollars were remitted to Ireland in the 19th and early 20th centuries. These papers are one of the few examples of records that show such remittance transactions.

In total, there are about 480 entries from the years that are available. What is most useful about this record set is that the place in Ireland where the person is sending money is likely to be where they were from, with the recipient almost certainly to be a family member, close family friend or trusted person, such as a priest.

Two interesting examples show the potential information they contain:

[page 55] 25 Feb 1854 – Peter McCabe sends to his Mother Ellen McCabe, Newbliss PO [post office] Monaghan, Ireland, Care Geo Moffat[2]

[page 97] 24 Feb 1857 –Bridget Lynes sends widow Margarett Lynes of Derremore [sic - Derrymore], Carrimeady [?] in care of Revd Pat Quade PP, Calurine, Callighan Millis [sic], Po Clare Co, Ireland[3]

These records can be combined with the 1855 NY State census, the 1850 and 1860 editions of the U.S Federal Census and Catholic Church records from the area to create a picture of the payees, their families, and chain migration to the area from Ireland.

The records are not available online but were transcribed and published in volume 32, no. 4, 1992 edition of the Central New York Genealogical Society's journal Tree Talks.

[1] Goodrich, Victoria B. Sending Money Home: The Accounts of an Immigrant Financial Agent in Deposit, New York, 1851-1860. Tree Talks. Volume 32. No. 4. 1992. p. iii.
[2] Ibid., p.21.
[3] Ibid., p. 37.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Pioneer Irish of Onondaga

Pioneer Irish of Onondaga is an early 20th century publication that offers biographies, ancestral pedigrees, and Irish places of origin for immigrants from Ireland who settled in this New York county from about 1776 to 1847. The book is divided into 22 chapters, with 20 of those devoted to various cities, towns, and areas in the county.

In the book it mentions how many of the immigrants arrived in Onondaga having first set foot on the continent in Canada. Therefore, those with Irish ancestors from Canada, upstate New York, and neighboring states, such as Vermont, should also check this book out.

The index at the back of the book is very useful as it contains about 3,200 entries. The vast majority are for names of Irish immigrants who are mentioned, along with a sizeable number of Irish place of origin such as counties, town, and parishes.

As always with such publications that do not cite the source of their information, use it as a guide to help you find the original documents for the person of interest. This book is widely available online via Internet Archive, Familysearch Books, Ancestry, and American Ancestors.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906

Naturalization records are fundamental documents to  obtains when it comes to researching the life of an immigrant in the United States. There are a number of large databases of indexes to naturalization records available online, one of which is New England Petitions for Naturalization Index, 1791-1906. New England is a region of the U.S. that contains the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. All of these states saw the arrival of large numbers of Irish immigrants in the 19th century.

This database was originally created in the late 1930s by the Works Progress/Projects Administration.[1] In total, it contains over 600,000 index cards for immigrants who naturalized. Around 25% of these people were born in Ireland.[2]

Working out the court where an ancestor naturalized, particularly if they moved a lot or lived in a large urban area, can be one of the main stumbling blocks to obtaining naturalization records. The usefulness of this index is that the cards list the court that granted the naturalization certificate, along with the volume and page number of the naturalization record.[3] 

To obtain the original records, you will need to find out where that court currently stores its naturalization records. Don't forget that they may have been digitized and placed online, be available on microfilm at an institution such as the Family History Library, or at the National Archives Northeast Region in Boston. 

This index database is available on the big three genealogy websites.

[1] Index To New England Naturalization Records, 1791-1906. Washington, D.C: National Archives and Records Administration. n.d. p. 1. Available online at accessed 13 March 2016.
[2] This number is based on my own tabulation of a non-exact search using Ireland as the place of birth. The total was 156,667. Using an exact search for Ireland returned the same number. Some of the returns say 'Great Britain or Ireland' as the place of birth. It is also likely that some of those whose birthplace was recorded as 'Britain' or 'Great Britain' were born in Ireland.
[3] Index To New England Naturalization Records, 1791-1906. Washington, D.C: National Archives and Records Administration. n.d. p. 1. Available online at accessed 13 March 2016.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Familysearch Letures

There are myriad online resources to help with genealogy research in Ireland, Canada and the United States. What is harder to come by are lectures that focus on researching in the United States and Canada with the aim of getting back to Ireland. Luckily, Familysearch have some resources available in that category. Their website is primarily known for the billions of free records from all over the world. However, less well explored sections of the website include the Family History Research Wiki and the Learning Center.

The learning center has a number of interesting lectures that are specifically aimed at those who are trying to find where their ancestor(s) came from in Ireland.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

NIFHS Cemetery Inscriptions

Following on from last week's post about genealogy organizations outside the U.S and Canada that have relevant records and resources, this week's post looks at the North of Ireland Family History Society (NIFHS). NIFHS "is a voluntary not-for-profit organization encouraging an interest in family history with particular reference to the nine counties in the historic Province of Ulster."[1]

One of their offerings is an index to graveyard inscriptions extracted from journals that the society subscribes to. The usefulness of the index is that you can quickly find out if a family name is included in the listing of inscriptions from a particular cemetery that you are interested in. Members of the NIFHS can avail of a lookup service if there is a cemetery of interest among the extensive list. This list includes transcribed information from some cemeteries in both the United States and Canada.

You can learn more information about this index and the NIFHS on their website.

Article Title
Memorial Stones in the USA
Galway Roots Vol 2 Page 79
New Brunswick, St. John County Alms & workhouse
Galway Roots Vol 4 Page 125
Andover, Mass. USA emigrant burials
Irish Ancestor Vol 1 Page 23
Tombstone Inscriptions of Irish interest in British Columbia
Irish Family History Society Vol. 2 1986 Page 59
St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lee, Mas., U.S.A.
Irish Family History Society Vol. 3 1987 Page 32
Irish graves in Ontario, Canada
Irish Family History Society Vol. 6 1990 Page 39
Irish Burials in St. Augustine’s Catholic Church Cemetery, Hamilton – Wentworth region, Ontario
Irish Family History Society Vol. 10 1994 Page 61
St. Joseph’s R.C. Church Cemetery, Bimbrook, Hamilton – Wentworth region, Ontario
Irish Family History Society Vol. 10 1994 Page 62
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Catholic Church Cemetery, Freelton, Ontario
Irish Family History Society Vol. 10 1994 Page 63
St. Thomas R.C. Cemetery, Waterdown, Ontario
Irish Family History Society Vol. 10 1994 Page 64
Bakerville Cemetery & Richfield Cemetery, B.C., Canada
Irish Family History Society Vol. 17 2001 Page 119

[1] North of Ireland Family History Society. North of Ireland Family History Society. Available online at accessed 27 January 2016.
[2] There is no indications as to what this acronym stands for but it likely to be internal reference.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Interesting Ulster Historical Foundation Databases

Genealogical and historical societies outside of the U.S. and Canada often have records and resources about people who immigrated to both countries. These records can be of use to those doing research in the U.S. and Canada as they can provide evidence of an ancestor's passage to North America, or where they came from in Ireland/Northern Ireland, if certain details are known about their life in the U.S./Canada.

The Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF), for example, has a number of such interesting databases on their website. The UHF is "an educational non-profit organisation [whose] aim is to encourage an interest in the history of the province of Ulster; promote a positive image of Northern Ireland overseas; strengthen the links between Ireland and those of Ulster descent; broaden access to historical documents and records for Irish and Scots-Irish genealogy; and to inspire pride in Irish and Ulster heritage and culture.[1]

The databases below can be accessed by UHF Guild members. More information about each database is available on their Irish Genealogy Databases page.
  • Emigrants from Coleraine Workhouse to Canada, 1849
  • Emigrants from Killeshandra Parish, 1831-1841
  • Emigrants Cited on Troy, New York, Gravestones
  • Emigrants Cited on Co. Down Gravestones
  • Emigrants from Counties Antrim & Londonderry, 1830s
  • Passenger Lists, 1803, Newry, County Down to USA
  • Passenger List: Athenia
  • Passenger List: Dorcas Savage Portaferry to New Brunswick, 1819
  • Passengers to America, 1773, 1789-93, 1796
  • Preliminary Research in the USA: Naturalization Records from Vermont, 1839-1900
  • Derrynoose Emigrants, County Armagh, 1840-50

Sidenote: the annual Ulster Historical Foundation tour of North America begins next month on 5 March. They will visit Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Lessburg (Virginia), Chicago, Salt Lake City, Portland, Chehalis (Washington), Fountaindale (Florida), Memphis, Pittsburgh, York County (Pennsylvania) and Halifax. You can get all the information from the Irish Genealogy News blog.

[1] Ulster Historical Foundation. About Us. Available online at accessed 21 January 2016.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

U.S. Consular Registration Records, 1907-1925

The Ancestry databases U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907 - 1918 and U.S., Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925 contain records pertaining to "naturalized or native born American citizens who intended to stay in a foreign country for a protracted length of time."[1] Records from these databases have a lot of information about the individual who was requesting to stay outside the United States. 

There are almost 800 entries across the two databases for people who were born in Ireland, became a citizen of the United States when they moved there, and then were required to file registration with a U.S. consulate when they resided outside the United States. In almost all examples for Irish born people, their county or area of birth was recorded. The majority of these people moved back to Ireland for various lengths of time but some also moved to Great Britain.

Denis Barry was born in Sunday's Well, County Cork on 15 May 1860.[2] At some point in his life he moved to the U.S., naturalized, and lived in Washington D.C. He arrived back in Ireland in 1900 to reside at 17 Friars Avenue, Cork City. His reason for returning to Ireland was 'health failing and it is my intentions [sic] to return to the United States, if health improves." His Certificate of Registration of an American Citizen is dated 18 September 1907. A search of the 1901 Census of Ireland shows Denis Barry residing with his two unmarried sisters at the address he provided.[3]

Page from Consular Registration Certificate of Denis Barry, 1907

If you find a person of interest in these databases, be sure to look at the pages either side of the relevant image as there will usually be more than one page in a person's application. Typically, a witness who believed the applicant's statements to be correct is also listed on the document. In the case of Denis Barry, William Ellis of 11 Douglas St, Cork, verified the information provided by Barry. Other records from applicants provide the name of a spouse, any children and all their birth places, if the applicant was married and had children. 

These databases are an interesting example that shows a small subset of Irish people who returned to Ireland from the United States, either temporarily or permanently. Access them at:

U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907-1918
U.S., Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925

[1], U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907 - 1918. 2013. accessed 7 February 2016.
[2] United States, Department of State, Bureau of Citizenship, Certificate of Registration of an American Citizen, Number 48774, Denis Barry, dated 1 September 1907; digital image, U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907 - 1918, Ancestry (, accessed 6 February 2016.
[3] The National Archives of Ireland, 1901 Census of Ireland, County Cork, DED Cork Urban No. 4, Townland/Street Friars Avenue or Granbraker Road, house 4, Form A , Denis Barry; digital image, The National Archives of Ireland, accessed 7 February 2016.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Prince Edward Island Repeal List 1843

The Act of Union came into effect on 1 January 1801 and created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Various efforts at repealing the act occurred both within and outside Ireland. Those who were of this mindset became known as repealers and many Repeal Associations were established in the United States and Canada. One such example was in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada in the 1840s.

In the 1980s, Terrence M. Punch (more about him in a recent blog post) wrote  in The Island Magazine about finding newspaper articles from 1843 that listed the names of Irish repelaers in PEI. Importantly, an Irish place of birth was also provided for many of the men. The newspaper in questions was the Halifax-based Register and the lists of names were published in various editions from October and November of that year.

Punch's first publication[1] provides the names of 149 men and over 100 Irish places of birth. His second[2] lists 253 men with the majority of names also having an Irish birthplace provided. You can access both publications on the website of the University of Prince Edward Island, as they have digitized old editions of The Island Magazine, or click the links below.

[1] Punch, Terrence M. A Prince Edward Island Repeal List for 1843. The Island Magazine. 1986, no. 20 Fall Winter. pp. 29-31. Available online at accessed 31 January 2016.
[2] Punch, Terrence M. A Prince Edward Island Repeal List for 1843. The Island Magazine. 1987, no. 21 Spring Summer. pp. 33-36. Available online at accessed 31 January 2016.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

History Of The Fire And Police Departments Of Minneapolis

History of the Fire and Police Departments of Minneapolis was published by The Relief Association Publishing in 1890. It provides an historical overview of the city's fire department from about 1850 and the police department from 1855. Traditionally, many Irish immigrants and their descendants joined both departments throughout the United States, making this publication very useful if you had such as ancestor in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The detailed history of both departments provides a vivid idea of what it was like to work as a fireman or policeman in the city. The majority of the publication is given over to the fire department and there are many illustrations of the tools they used, as well pictures of those who occupied the higher ranks of both institutions.

Of particular interest to genealogists will be chapter 16, Date of Organization of Companies (p. 163), and chapter 17, Company Quarters and Fire Apparatus (p. 172). Both chapters list the members of each engine company in the city as they existed at the time of publication. Name, rank, age, country of birth, and previous occupation are provided.

The example, below, shows the strong Irish influence in Engine Company no.1, with nearly all members born in Ireland, or U.S./Canadian born with traditionally Irish surnames.[1]

 The publication of this book was timely as it can serve as a census substitute for the destroyed 1890 U.S. Federal Census. It is a  niche resource, but incredibly useful for those with ancestors in that niche. 

[1] History of the Fire and Police Departments of Minneapolis. Minneapolis, MN: The Relief Association Publishing. 1890. Available online at accessed 16 January 2016.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Opinion: Funding Available For U.S./Canadian Irish Genealogy Groups

The application process for the 2016-2017 round of the Emigrant Support Program (ESP) was recently opened. The main focus of the ESP is the welfare of Irish emigrants abroad and the majority of funding goes to a broad coalition of emigrant support organizations. However, a sizable portion is also allocated to organizations that focus on Irish culture and heritage. This is because of some of the key objectives of the ESP[1]  

  • celebrate, maintain and strengthen the links between Ireland and the Global Irish
  • foster a more vibrant sense of community and of Irish identity

The ESP is particularly interested in supporting projects that  focus on "heritage and community activities that promote Ireland’s identity and maintain vibrant Irish communities abroad."[2]

The many societies across the United States and Canada that partly or exclusively focus on Irish genealogy clearly fall under this remit (see my GSI map to find them all). No doubt, many of them would like to offer more services, transcribe or digitize local genealogy documents, or expand the ability of their members to trace their Irish ancestors. One of the main stumbling blocks to doing this is probably funding. Therefore, I strongly encourage such organizations to consider the ESP as a way to access such funding.

The total amount available has increased year-on-year since 2013. The money allocated to organizations in the United States jumped sharply in 2014, the year for which the most recent figures are available (table 1).

Table 1: 2013-2016 Emigrant Support Programme Funding
Total Funding
Allocation to U.S. organizations
Figures not yet published
Figures not yet published
Figures not yet published

Of that 3.058m euro that went to U.S. organizations, just under 10% went to those in the cultural/heritage area. However, funding for cultural/heritage organizations increased by almost 29% when comparing 2014 to 2013.

Table 2: U.S. Cultural/Heritage Organizations Who Received Funding in 2014[8]
Amount Received
American Irish Historical Society
New York, NY
Battery Heritage Foundation
New York, NY
Irish-American Crossroads Festival
San Francisco, CA
Glucksman Ireland House, New York University
New York, NY
Greater Danbury Irish Cultural Foundation
Danbury, CT
Hudson Valley Irish Festival                         
Peekskill, NY
Irish American Heritage Center
Chicago, IL
Irish American Heritage Museum
Albany, NY
Irish Cultural Center of New England        
Canton, MA
Irish Heritage Centre Charitable Foundation, Inc. (Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati)
Cincinnati, OH
Irish Heritage Club
Seattle, WA[9]
Irish Heritage Society of Milford
Milford, CT
Society of Commodore John Barry
Philadelphia, PA
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

Table 3: U.S. Cultural/Heritage Organizations Who Received Funding in 2013[10]
Amount Received
American Irish Historical Society
New York, NY
Glucksman Ireland House, New York University
New York, NY
Hudson Valley Irish Festival                         
Peekskill, NY
Irish American Heritage Museum
Albany, NY
Irish Cultural Center of New England        
Canton, MA
Mission of our Lady of the Holy Rosary
Heritage Project at Watson House
New York, NY    
Society of Commodore John Barry
Philadelphia, PA
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT

Some of the heritage centers that received funding have occasional genealogy events. However, none of the funded organizations have genealogy as a core part of what they do.  Only two excellent examples stand out. The Irish American Heritage Museum has a resident genealogist who is available to assist people with their research.[11] The Mission of our Lady of the Holy Rosary Heritage Project in New York City digitized ledgers that are very useful for Irish genealogy research in 1880-1920 New York City and made them freely available online. They received funding in 2014.

There are two relevant categories under which Irish genealogy groups in the U.S. and Canada can apply:[12]

  • Capital - Projects involving the construction, refurbishment or purchase of capital assets. This includes projects related to website development/software acquisition.
  • Heritage - Project involving the promotion and maintenance of Irish heritage and identity overseas.

Full details of how to apply are available on the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

[1] Irish Abroad Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Overview of the Emigrant Support Programme. 2016. accessed 23 January 2016.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Department of Foreign Affairs. Global Irish: Irish Diaspora Policy. 2015. p. 26.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 2014 Emigrant Grant Summary. 2015. accessed 23 January 2016.
[6] Dept. of Foreign Affairs. 2013 Emigrant Grant Summary. 2014. accessed 4 March 2015.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Dept. of Foreign Affairs. 2014 Emigrant Grant Summary. 2015. accessed 23 January 2016.
[9] No location information was provided in the Grant Summary document. The only organization with this exact name is in Seattle, WA. There is also the 'Irish Heritage Club of Bakersfield' in California.
[10] Ibid.
[11] Disclosure: this genealogist is Lisa Walsh Dougherty who has written posts for this blog.
[12] Irish Abroad Unit, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  Overview of the Emigrant Support Programme. 2016. accessed 23 January 2016.