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.

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