Posts filed under: Pension Files

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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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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As I have discussed frequently on this site and elsewhere, the Widows and Dependent Pension Files from the American Civil War represent the greatest repository of detailed social information on ordinary nineteenth century Irish people that exists anywhere in the...
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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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