Sunday, December 25, 2016

You Want To Learn More About Your Irish Ancestors?

Repost from 2014 & 2015.

The Christmas and New Year holiday period is a time when families travel great distances across the U.S. and Canada to be together. It can often be a time for reminiscing about family occasions and those from older generations who have recently passed away. This conversation can gradually turn into a genealogical investigation without anyone realizing. Questions are asked about grandparents, great-grandparents, when ancestors first came to North America, and before you know it, you have just spend a couple of hours trying to find information about your ancestors online.

For those of you with Irish ancestors, some of the same refrains can be heard when this conversation begins: "well, your grandfather didn't talk much about where his parents came from in Ireland", "we only ever see Ireland on the records we have", and "I think they might have been from Cork, wait, or did their ship leave from Cork?"

If you have come across Townland of Origin as you try to Google information about your ancestry, then welcome, and have a look around. Start in the About section to learn what this site does and what exactly a townland is. Next, try the archive and select the country, state, or Irish county that you are interested in to read the posts about those areas. Did any of your ancestors immigrate through Ellis Island or live in New York City? Then I encourage you to learn what my book Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City  (cover image above) has to offer. 

If you are looking for an introduction to genealogy research in states that have large Irish-American populations then check out all the free articles that I wrote for Irish Lives Remembered genealogy magazine. Lastly, do you want to get more involved in your genealogy research in 2017? If so, I definitely recommend joining your local genealogy group/society. Check out my GSI (groups/societies/institutions) database to find one in your area.

Best of luck with your Irish genealogy research in 2017! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Irish Emigration to New England Through The Port of Saint John

Saint John, New Brunswick is a port city that Irish immigrants have used since the 18th century as a gateway to North America. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, it provides for easy access to a wide range of Canadian and American locations. During The Famine, thousands of Irish immigrants arrived at Saint John. Tracing Famine arrivals is difficult at the best of time so it is great to have Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849 to assist research efforts.

First published in 1996 (then re-published in 1997 and 2004) and written by Daniel Johnson, it is a compendium of extracts from the records of various institutions in Saint John County, New Brunswick. They include hospitals, asylums and workhouses, along with information gleaned from the journeys of the immigrants, their receiving of outdoor relief, and where they might have lived or temporarily resided in Saint John County.

Interesting examples abound in the publication. Names derived from a "Catalogue of immigrants from the United Kingdom relieved on parish poor accounts and not charged to the immigrant account year 1842," a document at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, are accompanied by Irish counties of nativity. Patrick May, 58, from County Kilkenny, [condition] sick and asmatick [sic]; William Freil, 76, from County Donegal, blind and feeble; and Barbara Ford, 47, from County Leitrim, dropsical [sic], are just three examples.[1]

Records for the year 1841 in the temporary lunatic asylum also have detailed information. Catherine Coyle, 33, and John Clougher, 26, both from County Roscommon, were two of the people admitted on 1 May 1841. Mary was discharged five months later but John was still there in 1844.[2]

It is often forgotten that Canadian ports were used to immigrate when the final destination was in the United States, hence the name of the publication. Therefore, don't discount this important work if you are researching Famine immigrants in Massachusetts, Vermont or elsewhere in New England. The book is also available in digitized format via the database 'Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849' on Ancestry.

Click here for a long list of other sources to do with New Brunswick that I have written about.

[1] Johnson Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849. Genealogical Publishing Company: Baltimore, Maryland. pp. 15-16; digital image, Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849," Ancestry (, accessed 3 December 2016.
[2] Johnson Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849. Genealogical Publishing Company: Baltimore, Maryland. p. 13; digital image, Irish Emigration to New England through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 1841 to 1849," Ancestry (, accessed 3 December 2016.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Albany County, New York Naturalizations, 1836-1864

The Connors Genealogy website has been online since 2001 and contains a large number of transcribed records from New York State and Ireland. Run by Pat Connors, it was one of the early websites to show the potential of volunteer transcription efforts when it came to records concerning Irish immigrants in the United States and record sets from Ireland.

One section of the site that is truly excellent is the list of transcribed Albany County, New York naturalization records from 1836 to 1864. For those that had an Irish county of birth recorded on their petition for naturalization, Connors provides this information, along with their name, age, residence (usually the city of Albany) and date of petition. There are hundreds of such examples. John Hartigan, age 66, petitioned to become a citizen of the United States on 3 November 1846.[1] He was born in County Limerick, resided in Albany, and had left Ireland from Limerick. James Lally was a resident of Watervliet, Albany County when he filed his petition, coincidentally also on 3 November, in 1838. He was born in County Offaly and had emigrated from Dublin.[2]

Helpfully, the Family History Library (FHL) film numbers are provided for each year. John Lally's petition is on film number 1301571. A quick search of the FHL Catalog directed me to the relevant film.

You can access the Albany County naturalizations here and the Connors Genealogy landing page here.

[1] Albany County NY, Naturalization Records, John Hartigan petition for naturalization 3 November 1846, Connors Genealogy
[2] Albany County NY, Naturalization Records, John Lally petition for naturalization 3 November 1838, Connors Genealogy

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Podcast: 10 Free Websites for U.S. Research

During the summer, I gave a talk at the National Library of Ireland about free websites to use for genealogy research in the U.S. The organizers were kind enough to record it and it's now available via podcast on the Irish Family History Centre website.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

New Orleans Irish, Arrivals – Departures

New Orleans Irish, Arrivals – Departures was written by John Finn and published in 1983. Finn was a Roman Catholic priest from County Sligo who was appointed to a parish in New Orleans, Louisiana. He quickly became intrigued by St. Patrick’s Cemeteries in the city and the history of the Irish who immigrated to New Orleans over the previous 180 years.

His publication primarily consists of a few thousand entries that Finn gleaned from headstones in the three St. Patrick’s Cemeteries. Finn recorded all information from the headstone, including Irish places of origin and birth, where found. Many of the burials occurred in the 19th century. For example, Ellen Donnelly, died on 4 September 1865, age 24 and was buried in St. Patrick Cemetery number two. She was from Killoran, County Galway.[1] Useful cemetery maps and pictures of some of the headstones are also included.

Finn also transcribed Irish immigrants from passenger lists of ships that arrived in New Orleans. The listing is not comprehensive but entries are taken from the years 1815 to 1847.

New Orleans does not initially come to mind when Irish immigration to the United States is considered. However, as pointed out in David T. Gleeson’s The Irish in the South, 1815-1877, the Irish population of the city in 1850 and 1860 averaged just over 15%.[2] By 1860, this considerable percentage consisted of 24,398 immigrants from Ireland.[3]

[1] Finn, John. New Orleans Irish, Arrivals – Departures. Privately Published: Jefferson, Louisiana, 1983. p. 164.
[2] Gleeson, David T., The Irish in the South, 1815-1877, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 2001. p. 35.
[3] Gleeson, David T., The Irish in the South, 1815-1877, p.34. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

U.S. Census Series: Bald Eagle, Pennsylvania

Bald Eagle in Clinton County, Pennsylvania is a very small town broadly halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the state capital. In the 1860s, the Bald Eagle Valley Railroad was completed as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad.  Some of the men from Ireland who worked on the railroad had their county of birth recorded in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census. They are found among farmers and laborers who also had their Irish counties of birth recorded. The same information was also recorded for some female immigrants from Ireland.

It is interesting to note that all those that had their Irish counties of birth recorded were from Munster. However, the enumerator, assistant marshal J.P. Heard, only recorded this information in the first five pages in his enumeration of Bald Eagle. All other immigrants from Ireland just had their country of birth recorded. One wonders if all the other Irish immigrants were also from Munster counties and their presence in Bald Eagle was due to chain migration from the south and south west of Ireland. Of those with counties of birth recorded, Cork and Clare have the largest concentrations.

Irish County of Birth
Clare (incl. Claire)
Kerry (incl. Carry)

Browse the enumeration for Bald Eagle by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Irish In St. Louis, Missouri

The website of the St. Louis Genealogy Society (SLGS) is a must for anyone doing research in city. The 'Irish in St. Louis' section of the website has three very useful listings. First, you will find a list of all the Roman Catholic parishes in the city and their year of foundation. The introduction helpfully points out that researchers should "compare the church address and your ancestor’s address on a St. Louis map" to determine which Church a person of interest may have worshipped at. Thankfully, the website has a map section.

I have previously written about Repeal Associations in relation to Terrence Punch's work in Prince Edward Island, Canada newspapers. A meeting of the Repeal Association of the Friends of Ireland took place in St. Louis on 10 May, 1842. The Missouri Republican newspaper reported on the meeting and an article listed 172 men and where the Irish-born, which comprised the vast majority, were from in Ireland. The SLGS has reproduced the list and helpfully added information for many of the men from other record sets.

There is also a collection of notices from local newspapers concerning Irish immigrants and their descendants. The vast majority are death notices, with some information wanted adverts also included. Some included Irish places of origin.

In conjunction with these useful resources, also check out my blog post about Ward 2 of St. Louis in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. Irish places of origin were recorded for more than 300 people.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

New York State Naturalizations 1802 - 1814

Thomas Addis Emmet was a lawyer who was heavily involved in the United Irishmen organization in the 1790s. Born in Cork, he was arrested on the eve of the 1798 rebellion and eventually settled in New York City, where he lived out the remainder of his days. He died there in 1827.[1] His grandson, Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, amassed a considerable collection of important documents and the collection was donated to the New York Public Library in 1896.[2]  

One of those documents is a list of immigrants naturalized in New York State between 1802 and 1814. Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet was known for his pro-Irish independence sympathies and the vast majority of the 115 names on the list are for men from Ireland. Importantly, the Irish county of birth is provided for almost every entry.

Early New York Naturalizations

The names were transcribed and published in a 1963 edition of the Bulletin of The New York Public Library.[3] This edition of the bulletin was digtized by Internet Archive and is freely available online. Click here for access.

The Emmet Collection was digitized by the New York Public Library and is available to view here.

[1] Thomas Addis Emmet, born 1764, died 1827 in New York City, buried Saint Mark's Church in the Bowery, New York, New York, memorial number 6813864; digital image, Find A Grave (http;//, accessed 24 September 2016.
[2] Thomas Addis Emmet collection, Archives and Manuscripts; The New York Public Library (, accessed 24 September 2016.
[3] Wolfe, Richard J. Early New York Naturalization Records in the Emmet Collection With a List of Aliens Naturalized in New York 1802-1814, Bulletin of the New York Public Library, Volume 67, Number 4, April 1963, pp. 211-217; accessed Internet Archive (, 24 September 2016.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

U.S. Roman Catholic Cemetery Publications II

This post contains the second half of a list of books of transcribed grave marker inscriptions from Roman Catholic cemeteries in the United States. Grave marker information can sometimes provide an Irish county or civil parish of origin. Scroll down to the most previous blogpost (20 September) or click here for the first post.

Please add a comment if you know of publications for states Minnesota through Wyoming that are not on this list.

Bakeman, Mary. Calvary Cemetery, St. Paul, Minnesota. 5 volumes. Roseville, MN: Park Genealogical Books. 1995-1999.

St. Louis Genealogical Society, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints AND St. Louis Eighth Ward. Catholic Cemetery Inscriptions of Jefferson County, Missouri. St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Genealogical Society. 1985.

Stricklin, Dawn C. Catholic Cemeteries in Southern Missouri and Illinois: Volume 1 in the Mortality Series. R.J. Stymes & Sons. 2013.

Brink, Marilyn. Tombstone inscriptions: St. Joseph's Catholic Church cemetery, Miesville, Mn. St. Paul, MN: Dakota County Genealogical Society. 1989.

New Jersey
Conroy, Bill. St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, Freehold, NJ, Division 1. Freehold, NJ: Self-published. Year Unknown.

Conroy, Bill. St. Rose of Lima Catholic Cemetery, Freehold, NJ, Division 2. Freehold, NJ: Self-published. Year Unknown.

New York
Ardolina, Rosemary Muscarella. Old Calvary Cemetery: New Yorkers Carved in Stone. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books. 1996.

Ardolina, Rosemary Muscarella. Second Calvary Cemetery: New Yorkers Carved in Stone. Floral Park, NY: Delia Publications. 2000. 
Barber, Gertrude A. Tombstone Inscriptions in the Catholic Cemetery at Richfield Springs, N.Y
and Also in the Exeter Cemetery at Exeter, N.Y., Both Located in Otsego County, N.Y. New York, NY: Self-published. 1931.

Kearns, Francis M. Assumption of Mary Parish, Redford, New York: Baptisms, 1853–1910, Marriages 1853–1923, Burials 1853–1925, Sepultures and Cemetery Records. Clinton, NY: Northern New York American-Canadian Genealogical Society. 1990.

Nial, Loretta M. Tombstone Inscriptions in Cemeteries in Troy, Rensselaer County, New York Indicating a Foreign Place of Origin. Troy, NY: Self-published. 1976.

Siarkiewicz, Emilie Jones. St. Ann's Catholic Cemetery, Hinckley, New York. Hinckley, NY: Self-published. 1993.

Silinonte, Joseph M. Tombstones of the Irish Born: Cemetery of the Holy Cross, Flatbush, Brooklyn. Concord, Ontario: Becker Associates. 1992.

Author Unknown. ‘The Restoration of Mt. Calvary Cemetery, Dennison, Ohio and List of Irish Immigrants Buried There.’ Ulster Genealogical and Historical Guild Subscribers' Interest List. Vol. 11. 1988.

Ross County Genealogical Society. Tombstone Inscriptions & Burial Records of Saint Margaret's Catholic Cemetery and Tombstone Inscriptions of Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Cemetery Ross County, Ohio. Chillicothe, OH: Ross County Genealogical Society. 1989.

Schlegel, Donald M. The Columbus Catholic Cemetery History and Records, 1846-1874. Columbus, OH: Columbus History Service. 1983.

Wolfe, Rosemary. St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, the Dalles, Wasco Co., Oregon. The Dalles, OR: Mid-Columbia Genealogical Society. 1983.

Author Unknown. ‘Gravestone Inscriptions From St. Peter's Catholic Church, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, 1799–1900.’ Directory of Irish Family History Research: Subscribers' Interest List. Vol. 18. 1995.

Ensley, Brian J. St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Biographical Sketch and Cemetery Listing
Old Conemaugh Borough, Johnstown, PA. Apollo, PA: Closson Press. 2001.

Middleton, Thomas C. Pew Register and Interments in St. Mary's Burying Ground, Philadelphia, from 1787–1800. West Jordan, UT: Stemmons. 1988.

Zimmerman, Edgar H. St. Paul's Catholic Cemetery (Goshenhoppen), Bally, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and New Cemetery of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church, Bally, Berks County, Pennsylvania. Apolla, PA: Closson Press. 2000.

Smith, Veda and Henry H. Weese. Mount View Catholic Cemetery, Ogden, Weber County, Utah. Ogden, UT: Self-published. 1940.

Chitwood, W. R. Tombstone Inscriptions, East End Cemetery and St. Mary's Catholic Church Cemetery, Wytheville, VA. Wytheville, VA: Self-published. 1984.

Miller, Michael T. Burials in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Alexandria, VA, 1783–1983. Baltimore, MD: Heritage Books. 1986.

Pippenger, Wesley E. Tombstone Inscriptions of Alexandria, Virginia (Volume 5): St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery (1795). Alexandria, VA: self-published. 2005.

Bird, Miriam Y. Town of Granville (Milw. Co.) Irish and St. Michael's Cemetery. Whitefish Bay, WI: Mimi Bird. 1994.

Milwaukee County Genealogical Society. Town of Granville, Irish & St. Michael's Cemetery. Milwaukee WI: Milwaukee County Genealogical Society. 1995.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

U.S. Roman Catholic Cemetery Publications I

The information on cemetery grave markers can sometimes provide an Irish county or civil parish of origin for the deceased. If a grave marker exists, efforts should be made to consult it, either in person or online via sites such as or Another great source for such information is the many books of transcribed grave marker inscriptions that have been created over the years by dedicated individuals and local genealogy organizations. 

One of the great advantages of these books is that they can act as a sort of time machine for research. For example, a book may have been compiled in the 1990s when the inscriptions on a grave marker was legible but in poor condition. A researcher in 2016 looking at that same grave marker may find that the inscription is now completely worn away, but they have the book to consult.

Below you will find the first half of a list of published grave marker inscriptions from Roman Catholic cemeteries in the United States that I have come across over the last few years. Some of the titles, such as those from cemeteries in Connecticut, specifically mention that an Irish place of origin is mentioned on some of the grave markers in the book.

Please add a comment if you know of publications for states Alabama through Massachusetts that are not on this list.

North America
Author Unknown. ‘Gravestone Inscriptions of Irish Interest in Canada and the USA.’ Genealogical & Historical Guild Newsletter. Vol. 1. No. 9. 1983.

Connick, Lucille Mallon. Ed. Tombstone inscriptions, Catholic Cemetery, Mobile, Alabama. Mobile, AL: Mobile Genealogical Society. 1986.

Brennan, Jenny. ‘Burials of Irish people in the Mission Dolores cemetery in San Francisco.’ North Irish Roots. Vol. 5. No. 2. 1994.

Author Unknown. Irish Place Names on Tombstones in Cemeteries in Southwestern Connecticut. Publisher Unknown. 2011.

Barnes, Carol. 'Irish Place Names from St. Mary's Cemetery, Norwalk, and St. Mary's Cemetery, Greenwich, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 1. August 2009.

Bohan, Ellen, Patricia Heslin, Paul Keroack, Bernard Singer, Rosanne Singer, eds. with Neil Hogan, Robert O. Larkin, and Jamie Longley. Early New Haven Irish and Their Final Resting Places: The Old Catholic and Saint Bernard Cemeteries. Hamden, CT: Connecticut Irish American Historical Society. 2013.

Galvin, Nora, Harlan Jessup, and Paul Keroack. 'Irish Place Names from St. James and St. Augustine Cemeteries, Bridgeport, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 4. May 2010.

Carroll Catalano, Susan and Nora Galvin. 'Irish Place Names from St. Thomas Cemetery, Fairfield, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 2. November 2009.

Galvin, Nora and Harlan Jessup. 'Irish Place Names from St. Michael's Cemetery, Bridgeport and Stratford, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 2. November 2009.

Galvin, Nora and Susan Carroll Catalano. 'Irish Place Names from Assumption Cemetery, Kings Highway, Westport, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 2. November 2009.

Jessup, Harlan. 'Place Names in St. Mary Cemetery, Ridgefield.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 2. November 2009.

Keroack, Paul. 'St. John Cemetery, Darien CT - Headstones with Irish Place Names.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 53. No 3. February 2011.

Keroack, Paul. More Irish Place Names from St. Mary's Cemetery, Norwalk.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 3. February 2010.

Maki, Mary and Harlan Jessup. 'Irish Place Names on Tombstones in Old (and New) St. Peter Cemetery, Danbury, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 52. No 1. August 2009.

Maki, Mary. Place 'Names on Irish Tombstones: St. Rose Cemetery, Sandy Hook, CT.' Connecticut Ancestry. Vol. 48. No 2. November 2005.

Author Unknown. ‘Transcripts of Irish Interest in Cemeteries at Augusta, Georgia, USA.’ Ulster Genealogical & Historical Guild Newsletter. Vol. 1. No. 10. 1984.

Catholic Church, Diocese of Savannah. Savannah's Catholic Cemetery, Chatham County, Georgia, Volumes I, II and III. Savannah, GA: Savannah Catholic Cemetery Preservation Society. 2005.

Knox County Genealogical Society. Catholic Cemeteries, Knox County, Illinois. Galesburg, IL: Knox County Genealogical Society. 1983.

Hann. V. Saint John the Baptist Catholic Cemetery, Somonauk, Illinois Tombstone Inscriptions and Recorded Burials. Somonauk, IL: Self-published. 1983.

Lundberg, Gertrude W. St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in Skokie, Illinois. Skokie, IL: Self-published. 1966.

Mohr, Linda. St. Joseph Catholic Church Cemetery, gravestone inscriptions, Shelbyville, Indiana. Shelbyville, IA: Self-published. 1986.

Emmet County Genealogical Society. Emmet County, Iowa, Cemeteries: Armstrong Grove Cemetery, Mt. Calvary Cemetery, St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery. Estherville, IA: Emmet County Genealogical Society. Year Unknown.

Adams, Kathleen Carmichael. Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Cemetery, Cold Spring, Kentucky: Researched From Original Records. Cold Spring, KY: K.C. Adams. 1994.

Chandler, Ora. St. Louis Cemetery, Catholic, Located South Green Street, U.S. 41A and U.S. 60, Henderson County, Henderson, Kentucky. Evansville, IN. 1965.

Joseph, Essie. History of Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church and Cemetery Inscriptions, Ascension Parish, Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Houma, LA: Terrebonne Genealogical Society. 1999.

Arthur, Edward P. St. Mary's Govans Catholic Church, Baltimore, Maryland: Baptisms, 1850–1882, Marriages 1850–1912, Cemetery Records. Lewes, Md: Colonial Roots. 2012.

Arthur, Edward P. St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church Baptisms, 18531882. Lewes, DE: Colonial Roots. 2010.

Author Unknown. ‘St Patrick's Cemetery in Lowell, Mass., USA.’ Directory of Irish Family History Research. No. 22. 1999.

Author Unknown. ‘St. Mary's Cemetery, Lee, Mass, USA.’ Irish Family History. No. 3. 1987.

Author Unknown. ‘Some Tombstone Inscriptions of Irish Interest in Massachusetts USA.’ Irish Family History. No. 1. 1985.

Daly, Mary E. Gravestone Inscriptions from Mount Auburn Catholic Cemetery, Watertown, Massachussetts. Waltham, MA: Self-published. 1983.

Doherty, Paul M.  'Tombstones of Some Irish Immigrants in the Catholic Cemetery at Andover, Massachusetts.' Irish Ancestor. Vol. 4. No. 1. 1972. pp. 23-26.

Pierce, Andrew. The Stones Speak: Irish Place Names From Inscriptions in Boston’s Mount Calvary Cemetery. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society. 2000.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Upcoming Talks

I have two talks coming up next week, details of which you can find below.

This is part of the lunchtime series at the National Library of Ireland. It starts at 1pm and is free to attend with no booking required.

I will be giving this talk at the Emigration and our Galway County Diaspora conference. There is an excellent lineup across the day and my talk is at 3:45pm. The conference is in Clarinbridge and is free to attend.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Toronto Catholic Parish Registers

The first three Catholic parishes founded in Toronto were St. Paul in 1822, St. Michael in 1845, and St Mary, seven years later in 1852. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was granted access to the Archdiocese of Toronto archives some years ago and microfilmed the registers of various parishes, including the first three, up to 1910.[1] This microfilming program has been converted into the browse only database Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923 on Familysearch. After selecting the database, navigate to → York→ Toronto. This will bring you a list of digitized parish registers.

It is worth the effort to consult these registers as Irish parish and county of origin information it often provided for marriages beginning about 1850. Failing that, many marriage register entries provide the parents' names for marrying parties.

Baptisms scanned starting
Marriages scanned starting
St. Paul
St. Michael
St. Mary
Not scanned

In 1850, Neil Mallen from Dickmancreven [sic - probably Tickmacrevan] Parish, County Antrim married Margaret Brian from the parish of Hackettstown [sic], County Wicklow in St. Paul's parish. Both of their parents are named in the register entry.[2] An example from St Mary's parish shows John Cleary from County Clare married Catherine Cawley from County Tipperary in 1862. Again, both sets of parents are named.[3] Similar information is found in the entry directly after John and Catherine's.

1850 marriage of Neil Mallen and Margaret Brian - click to enlarge

1862 marriage of John Cleary and Catherine Cawley - click to enlarge

Toronto is a central location for those who may have intended to travel into the rural areas of Ontario, New York State, or the American mid-west. Equally, those Irish immigrants may have stated in the city. If you have been unable to find marriage or baptismal records for your ancestors who ended up in those regions then don't discount the Toronto Roman Catholic registers.

Access these three parish registers and those from many other parishes in Ontario here.

[1] Wicks, Linda and Marc Lerman. The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Toronto. Archivaria. Volume 30, Summer 1990, pp.180-184. Available online at accessed 28 May 2016.
[2] St. Paul's Roman Catholic Parish, (Toronto, Canada); Baptisms, marriages, burials 1834-1850; p. 459, no. 42; Neil Mallen married Margaret Brian 29 June 1850; digital image, "Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923," Familysearch  ( accessed 20 August 2016.
[3] St. Mary's Roman Catholic Parish, (Toronto, Canada); Marriage Register 1858 to 1896; John Cleary married Catherine Cawley 7 January 1862; digital image, "Ontario, Roman Catholic Church Records, 1760-1923," Familysearch  ( accessed 20 August 2016.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Friends Of Irish Research

The Friends of Irish Research (FIR) is a genealogy society based in Brockton, Massachusetts. The organization was based at the Irish Cultural Center (ICC) in Canton for a number of years before moving to their current residence at 900 North Main Street in Brockton. FIR meets often with get togethers held almost every Friday evening for two hours at their Brockton location, beginning at 7:30pm. Anyone is welcome to drop by for a genealogy consultation during that time, once they make an appointment via email
( On the third Friday of each month they return to their spiritual home at the ICC Library in Canton to meet.

Like all good local genealogy societies they are utilizing one of their strengths by creating records from local resources. Old St. Mary's is the oldest Roman Catholic cemetery in Canton and FIR have created a database of burial information.

Next month they will be hosting their latest School of Irish Genealogy on Saturday the 10th. Running from 1-4pm, the afternoon will focus on free online research tools and DNA. Previous editions of this venture have focused on a wide variety of topics for which there are handouts and videos available . There is also a considerable range of articles available to read, focusing on areas such as research in Newfoundland, Cape Breton (Nova Scotia), and beyond.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Online U.S. Catholic Parish Registers 2016 List

One year ago I compiled a list of Roman Catholic parish registers that are available online. As I outlined at the time it was, sadly, a short list. However, it was well received so I'm back with an updated list for 2016. Most of the updates for this year come from the Drouin Collection, along with a couple from the Internet Archive website. New additions are in bold in the table.

Another access method for Roman Catholic parish registers that is sometimes not considered is microfilms from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Eventually, all of their microfilms will be on, but until that point is reached they remain a great way to access these records. For example, see the list of registers for 12,000 (yes, 12,000) parishes around the world.

Access and Format Key
S - Scanned
I - Indexed
NI - Not Indexed
T - Transcriptions

* Search for: "Burial register, St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery, Woodland, Yolo Co., California"
** Search for: " St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1915-1985, of Littleton Colorado"
*** Records are contained within the database New Jersey, Births and Christenings, 1660-1980
**** Search for: "Register of St. Michael Catholic Church, Daviess County, Indiana"

Region/Parishes Covered
Access & Format
Archdiocese of Mobile
Archdiocese of Mobile
Fort St.Philippe
1744, 1761-1765
St. Joseph's Catholic Cemetery, Woodland, Yolo County
Archdiocese of Denver
St Mary's Catholic Parish, Littleton
Delaware and Eastern Shore Maryland on Delmarva Peninsula
1795-1925 (S/NI)
Archdiocese of Chicago
City of Chicago and surrounding area
South East Ohio / County map of parishes
Familysearch (S/NI)

Kaskaskia (Caskakias), Prairie du Rocher,
Fort de Chartres
1695-1813, 1761-1799,

St. Michael's Parish, Daviess County
St. Michael's Parish, Daviess County

St. Gabriel

Van Buren
Delaware and Eastern Shore Maryland on Delmarva Peninsula
1795-1925 (S/NI)

St. Anne, Detroit
Various others, Detroit
St. Anne, Mackinac (Makinac) County
Fort Fran├žais, Berrien County


St. Ferdinand, Florissant
Old Cathedral, St. Louis

St. Peter's Parish, Kirkwood
New Jersey
Archdiocese of Newark
St. Peter's Parish, Belville
Immaculate Conception Parish, Montclair
NYC Nuts (T/I)
New Jersey
Archdiocese of Newark
Various Parishes
19th Century
Familysearch (T/I)***
New York
Our Lady of Sorrow Parish, Bushwick
St. Leonards of Port Maurice, Bushwick
Most Holy Trinity, Williamsburg
New York
Ancestry: here & here (T/I)
New York

Brasher Falls
St. Joseph, Cooperville
Fort Covington
Fort Frederick, Albany
North west Ohio
Familysearch (S/NI)
Ancestry (S/NI)
of Philadelphia
Philadelphia and south east Pennsylvania
18th & 19th Century

Fort Duquesne, Pittsburgh

St. Francis Xavier, Green By