Posts filed under: Social History (Famine Era)

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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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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Although proportionately very few Irish veterans of the American Civil War returned to Ireland after their service, hundreds did choose to do so. Up and down the island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries those who had served...
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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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The new post shares another of the brief podcasts that was originally prepared for Irish Community Level Patrons. Here we hear the first-person affidavit of Donegal woman Mary Doherty, who emigrated from Carndonagh, Co. Donegal to Boston in the 1840s....
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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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Back in 2015 Brendan Hamilton and I published a piece on the site entitled Recruited Straight Off The Boat: On the Trail of Emigrant Soldiers From the Ship Great Western. The work was based on Brendan’s discovery (and his extensive...
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As we look forward to the tour of the 69th New York State Militia at Bull Run in May 2019 (details here), the first months of the year will have a number of posts that examine aspects of the 69th’s...
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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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