Posts filed under: Pension Files

Millions of people in the modern-day United States have some degree of Irish ancestry. The surnames they bear or are connected to display a staggering array of spelling variance–some of which seem very far removed from their Transatlantic origins. While...
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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 north-eastern portion of Washington D.C. is home to a cemetery with strong ties to the nineteenth century Irish Diaspora. Indeed, this is perhaps the most significant–and least well known– site with Irish American links in the entire District of...
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Historically, we have tended to view the Irish American experience of the Civil War through the lens of ethnic formations such as the Irish Brigade and Corcoran’s Irish Legion. Yet of the c. 250,000 ethnic Irishmen who donned Union blue...
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The latest instalment of the series focuses on Alexandria National Cemetery, which I visited on my recent trip to the United States. The majority of burials relate to men who died of illness or injuries in one of Alexandria’s many...
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Popular perceptions of 19th century Irish emigration imagine a tearful farewell from home, as emigrants departed never to be heard from again. But in reality those who left usually maintained close ties with their home communities– ties of obligation and...
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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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The new post shares a brief podcast that was originally prepared for Irish Community Level Patrons. While thousands of Irish soldiers and sailors died of disease and battle during the war, what about those who experienced more unusual deaths? The...
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When we think of the Irish at Bull Run, our minds turn immediately to the 69th New York State Militia. When we consider the Irish in the Civil War, it is the Irish Brigade that springs to the fore. Just...
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