In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, Tom gives a few examples of Irish genealogy gems he's found:
Here's an obituary I found for Mrs. Catharine Reilly (1770-1874). This is a good example of how valuable newspapers can be—this obituary has plenty of the genealogical facts we're looking for:
From this one obituary we find these facts about her:
- Date and place of birth: May 4, 1770, in Cootehill, County Cavan, Ireland
- Date and place of death: Oct. 3, 1874, in Media, Pa.
- Entry point into America and date: through the Port of Philadelphia, in 1840, where she lived "for many years"
- Descendants: 7 children and 24 grandchildren
- Other family history: her aunt "recently died in Ireland at the age of one hundred and eight"
Why? Because editors from distant newspapers routinely printed obituaries for relatives and friends of the family that had moved to their area. You just might find that the obituary you are looking for also appeared in a newspaper clear across the country, where you would not expect it. This could give you additional clues and lead your family research in unexpected directions.
Along with thousands of newspapers from big cities and small towns, GenealogyBank has a few specifically Irish-American newspapers, such as:
- The Shamrock (New York City) 1810-1817 (complete newspaper)
- Irish World (New York City) 1890-1905 (complete newspaper)
- Irish Voice (New York City) 2006-Today (obituaries only)
Notice the variety of reasons a person could have received a pension. For example: Ann Nolan, who lived in Ballon Tullow (County Carlow), Ireland, received a pension because she was a dependent mother. Edward Tierney of Athlone (County West Meath), Ireland, received a pension because he was a dependent father. William Cochburn of Ballingtre, Ireland, received a pension because he lost his left leg. Ann Moon of Ballygames, Ireland, received a pension because she was a widow. All received pensions because of their service to the U.S., or the service of their son or husband.
This five-volume list of 1883 pensioners is a fantastic resource for genealogists, by the way. It is a crucial source for identifying pensioners from all wars still living in 1883, and it pinpoints where they were living—anywhere in the U.S. or around the world. Volume V is especially helpful, as it lists people receiving U.S. pensions who were living in the following areas or countries: Africa; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Denmark; England; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Madeira Island (Portugal); Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Wales; and the West Indies:
Along with its extensive historical newspaper archive, GenealogyBank's historical documents collection can be an excellent source for documenting where in Ireland your family lived. It's certainly helped me with my family tree!