Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

Like many I have had a number of events cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. One talk that fell victim was for the Kilrush and District Historical Society, where I had hoped to discuss stories of local men and...
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One battlefield. One regiment. Three bodies. Three families. A story of Step Migration, Chain Migration, and Americanisation- and of the Kerry diaspora in Ireland, Canada and America. As the last wisps of lingering gunsmoke departed the woods and ravines of...
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In May 1913, Cork emigrant Timothy Sullivan approached a Commissioner of Oaths in Liverpool. He wanted the man to write and witness a letter for him. Though he could sign his own name, the 66-year-old was not confident enough to...
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A special podcast that features a talk I gave to the Lough Gur Historical Society in December 2019. It describes why I believe the American pension files are such a major resource for uncovering the ordinary lives of the 19th...
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Brigadier-General Michael Corocoran was one of the most famous Irish Americans of the 19th century. He led the 69th New York State Militia at Bull Run, and in the months of captivity that followed he became a hero of the...
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In 1865 Ellen McCann of 87 Mulberry Street in New York’s infamous Five Points district went in search of a pension. She was not a typical widow. By the time her husband Francis had elected to join the Union cause...
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As many readers will be aware, I have had a number of “side projects” which I try to advance periodically through the years. One that I haven’t previously highlighted relates to Irish emigrants who lost their lives aboard the USS...
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The latest podcast explores a topic close to my heart, the final letters of Union soldiers from the American Civil War. The episode takes a geographical slant, looking at the words of Ulster men from both the Catholic and Protestant...
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I recently came across a series of 1861 letters written between three notable members of nineteenth century Irish America. The authors were the Archbishop of New York, “Dagger” John Hughes; Father Bernard O’Reilly, who had served as the 69th New...
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My primary area of research relates to wartime letters written home by soldiers and sailors, and which widow’s and dependents parted with in order to provide the Bureau of Pensions with evidence to support their claim. However, letters were not...
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