Posts filed under: Microhistory

In 1911 John Fitzgerald of Liscelty sat down to write a letter to America from the rural fishing village of Dunmore East. He was doing so on behalf of a local fisherman, a man named John Dunne. By then in...
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A couple of weeks ago I began my holidays on beautiful Arranmore Island, off the coast of Co. Donegal. Aside from being a great place to visit, I was also there to meet local historians Seamus Bonner and Patrick Gallagher....
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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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The Widow’s and Dependent pension files allow us reconstruct elements of the lives of working class 19th century families in unparalleled detail. In some cases, these individuals had never even set foot in the United States. Such is the case...
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While I have read vast numbers of letters preserved in Federal pension files over the last number of years, very few of them were written on the day of an engagement. There are numerous reasons for this, but perhaps chief...
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Mary Hogan emigrated from Co. Clare to America with her family around 1851. There she and her husband Michael–almost twenty years her senior–settled into life among the Irish community of Cincinnati, Ohio. Michael was among a number of Clare emigrants to...
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It will come as little surprise to readers that my analysis of Irish American correspondence during the Civil War has revealed that they were overwhelmingly pro-Democrat and anti-Republican. When they expressed a political opinion, they showed a general antipathy towards Abraham...
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The pension applications of widows and dependants for Civil War pensions pull back the curtains on the hardships that many 19th century working class Irish American women suffered at the hands of their husbands. For many, physical abuse, alcoholism and...
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James McDevitt was born into a large Irish family around the year 1845. His home was in a small cluster of houses– known as a clachan– which operated an infield and outfield farming system known as rundale (see here). James...
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I recently attended the excellent 2018 Famine Summer School held at the National Famine Museum at Strokestown Park House in Co. Roscommon. I was speaking on what pension files can reveal about the remittance of money from America to Ireland, and the...
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