In a series of posts over the coming weeks, I am going to focus on a part of the DIPPAM (Documenting Ireland: People, Parliament, and Migration) project at Queens University, Belfast. DIPPAM is "an online virtual archive of documents and sources relating to the history of Ireland, and its migration experience from the late 18th to the 20th centuries." It currently consists of three collections: Enhanced British Parliamentary Papers on Ireland (EPPI), the Irish Emigration Database (IED), and Voices of Migration and Return (VMR). The IED will be the focus of these posts.
At the time of writing, there are currently in excess of 33,000 documents in the IED and they can be divided into three broad categories. Documents created by private individuals (e.g. letters, diaries, and journals written by migrants), newspaper material, and official/government papers made up of reports, statistics, and parliamentary debates, all concerning emigration.
Documents in the IED cover the period 1700-1950, with three quarters of the information in the database from the 1820 to 1920 period. Materials from all thirty-two counties in Ireland, the U.S., and Canada are to be found in the database. Overall, the majority of sources supplied to the database creators concern the province of Ulster.
So what kind of genealogical information can be gleaned from all these documents for those researching from this side of the Atlantic? My analysis of this database leads to the answer of Irish place of origin information, named relationships between emigrant and family members in Ireland, and information about ships on which emigrants traveled. I will outline examples of each of these three aspects between now and mid-September.