Posts filed under: Pension Files

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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The event which led to the recording of the lives of the three Mary Driscolls occurred along the Gulf Coast of Texas in September 1863. On the 8th of that month, a small contingent of largely Irish American Confederates under...
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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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I have given numerous talks at historic sites over the years, particularly locations associated with conflict. Where I can, I always try to take opportunities to look beyond the military moment, explore the impact of these events on individuals and...
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The men who entered the Union military as substitutes from 1863 onwards are among the most neglected and maligned groups associated with the American Civil War. History–and many historians–have overwhelmingly focused on the negative aspects of their service, highlighting their...
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The first months of the newly dawned 20th century found Peter Keefe drawing his final breaths in his rural home of Corloughan, Co. Kilkenny. The 60-year-old had the comfort of his nearest relative Betsy by his side, and the knowledge...
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Amputation, as one historian has noted, is the “symbolic wound” of the American Civil War. One estimate places the number of wartime amputations at 60,000, three-quarters of all the operations undertaken during the conflict. Around 45,000 of these men are...
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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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