Posts filed under: Letters & Documents

In March I had the opportunity to speak to the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany, New York, about some of my latest research. The talk focused on the experience of Irish Americans around New York’s Capital Region during the...
Read More →
George was born around 1845 in Dingle. He had been enrolled at Lynn, Massachusetts on 3rd December 1863, becoming a private in Company H of the 2nd Massachusetts Heavy Artillery, a unit with a heavy Irish American contingent. At the...
Read More →
Very occasionally Irish American pension files contain beautiful documents that were created as a record of the family’s origins and growth (for a previous examination of one, see here). The adoption of Family Registers to note down births, marriages and...
Read More →
Over the years I have come to realise how extremely rare it is to be able to identify precisely where in Ireland ordinary American Civil War servicemen originated. There are only a handful of times where sufficient information has survived...
Read More →
Though we tend not to associate Dublin with large-scale nineteenth century emigration, many thousands of people departed the city and county in the years before the American Civil War. Substantial numbers lost their lives during the conflict, as the widows...
Read More →
On 17th June 1862 a Confederate shell arced through the sky from a battery positioned atop the Saint Charles bluffs on the White River, Arkansas. As it plunged donwards into the Union ironclad USS Mound City, it ruptured her steam...
Read More →
A great strength of letters drawn from the widows and dependent pension files is the openness of their content on social and familial issues. With letter collections passed down through families or donated to major repositories, we always have to...
Read More →
The citations that accompanied Civil War era Medal of Honor awards tend to provide us with precious little detail. Regularly restricted to one or two lines, they often lack description, and do little to transmit the horrors of the sights...
Read More →
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...
Read More →
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...
Read More →