Friday, March 28, 2014

Kentucky Irish American

A very important resource for Irish genealogical research in the state of Kentucky is the Kentucky Irish American newspaper. Statewide newspapers aimed at the Irish community, and that were published for decades, are not that common. This publication hit the newsstands on a weekly basis from the 1890s to 1968.

Based in Louisville, it catered to the needs of the concentrated Irish community. In the early decades there was regular reporting on fraternal organizations, such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians, with members and officers named on a weekly basis. Other features included society news, focusing on the burgeoning middle-class Irish, and deaths that occurred. Some obituaries, such as the one below, for Mary Boyle Featherstone, give a county of birth.[1]

Obituary of Mary Boyle Featherstone from the Kentucky Irish American

Microfilm editions for all years are available at the University of Louisville. Some years (1900, 1901, 1909, 1910) are available on the subscription website Fold3. Copies from 1898-1921 can be accessed for a fee on, and for free on The Chronicling America website.

[1] Author Unknown. Mourn Her Death. 11 March 1905. Kentucky Irish American. p. 1. Available online at 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

U.S Census Series: Savannah, Georgia 1860

A recent exchange on Twitter about the Wexford Savannah Axis project between Damian Shiels (of the Irish in the American Civil War website and book) and David Gleeson (Northumbria University - Newcastle and the Atlantic Irish blog) highlighted the recording of Irish counties of birth in the federal census for those living in Savannah, Georgia.

A look at the 1860 federal census shows that there are a very large number of instances of the Irish county of birth being recorded: 2662.[1] This is a substantial boon to anyone with Irish ancestry in Savannah. Given the nature of the research project (see previous post or click here) it is not surprising to see Wexford tops the charts. In addition to this, there are large representations from Kerry, Mayo, Cork, Cavan, Roscommon, Leitrim, Dublin, and Galway.

Wexford 463
Kerry 322
Mayo 255
Cork 223
Cavan 169
Roscommon 166
Limerick 137
Dublin 128
Galway 106
Clare 89
Meath 70
Sligo 60
Kilkenny 45
Westmeath 45
Longford 44
Donegal 33
Tyrone 33
Tipperary 32
Kildare 29
Leitrim 24
Monaghan 24
Derry/Londonderry 23
Waterford 23
Laois 20
Carlow 18
Armagh 16
Wicklow 14
Offaly 13
Antrim 12
Louth 7
Down 2
Fermanagh 1

Total 2662

The PhD thesis of Edward Shoemaker, Strangers and Citizens: The Irish Immigrant Community of Savannah, 1837-1861 (Emory University, 1990), compiled all examples of Irish counties of birth in the federal census, as well as providing an in-depth analysis of the Irish community.

This link will bring you to the indexes for Chatham County, Georgia (where Savannah is) in the 1860. U.S federal census.

[1] All total numbers come from a manual tabulation from the indexes. Small errors are quite possible.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wexford Savannah Axis

Last week, the Irish news website, The, had an interesting story about a new historical collaboration between societies and colleges in Wexford, Ireland and Savannah, Georgia (Waterford Institute of Technology, Irish Emigrant Experience Centre in Wexford, Georgia Historical Society, and Center for Irish Research and Teaching at Georgia Southern University). Named the Wexford-Savannah Axis, the project aims to “reveal many stories linking Wexford and Ireland’s ‘sunny southeast’ with Savannah.”[1]

Throughout the 19th century, a large number of Wexfordians left Ireland for Savannah, GA. The Graves Shipping Company was based in New Ross, Co. Wexford and they opened an office in Savannah. This led to many Wexford natives settling in the southern city.


A project such as this has obvious benefits to genealogists. An advertisement for the project outlines that “much migration research focuses on what happens once settlers arrive in the new country, but our Wexford-Savannah Axis initiative explores matters holistically.”[2] Therefore, it is hoped that an analysis of these migrants will include genealogical and biographical research to link them back to their townlands of birth in Ireland. This is definitely a project to keep tabs on.

Watch out for the next blog post, where I will discuss one resource that they will almost certainly use, and how it can be of benefit when looking for the place of origin in Ireland.

[1] Author Unknown. Wexford Savannah Axis (Project Advertisement). 2014. Available online at accessed 22 March 2014.
[2] Ibid.