I have had the good fortune over recent years to develop links with Middle Tennessee State University, most particularly their excellent Center for Historic Preservation. This dates back to a lecture I gave on conflict archaeology there in 2014, since when I have had the opportunity to show MTSU students around some of the 1916 Rising sites in Dublin, and to host one of the Center’s PhD researchers while working on the archaeology of the Irish War of Independence. I was therefore delighted when the Center’s Programs Manager, Dr. Lydia Simpson, dropped me a line about a recent discovery she had made on the 1860 Census. Dr. Simpson has come across a number of groups of Irish railroad workers who had been enumerated in rural parts of the state. You can read about her discovery here. She asked if I would be interested in taking a closer look, and so I enthusiastically dived in to examine one of those groups– some 140 ethnic Irish who were laboring on the Nashville & Decatur Railroad in Giles County, Tennessee. My brief analysis revealed a surprising amount of details about their lives, including topics such as their potential origins, their history in the United States, their family ties and their literacy levels. That analysis is now available on the Center’s blog, Southern Rambles. If you would like to read it, you can do so by clicking here.