Tracing your Irish Emigrants
McGuire Suite, Old Ground Hotel, Ennis
8:00pm 29 Sep 2011
by Paddy Waldron
DVD: Ancestors - Discovering Your Heritage: "Immigration Records" (about 20 minutes)
Why trace the emigrants in your family?
Are they tracing you?
- Most researchers are just as interested in collateral branches as in direct ancestors.
- Government policy includes boosting the economy through roots tourism.
- Organisations like Ireland Reaching Out are trying to make contact with the Irish diaspora and inviting them to reconnect with their place of origin.
- Getting around roadblocks in Irish research often involves going sideways in order to go backwards: overseas records often contain information which has never been recorded at home, or has been lost.
- Check for them in online family trees, e.g.:
- The above sites are unmoderated and everything that you find must be verified in primary sources.
- Check for them in genealogy query websites, e.g. for Clare:
- Just Google
- Throughout the English-speaking world (Britain, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, etc.)
- Argentina, Chile, Austria, Spain, France, Russia, Poland, Belarus, etc.
- via Ellis Island (1892-1954; records up to 1924 are online; probably 90% of U.S. immigrants in that period)
- (Please help to complete the Clare Past Forum Emigration List Project (1892-1924).)
- via Castle Gardens (pre-1892)
- via up to 30 other ports (Philadelphia, Boston, etc.)
- via Canada
- American records online:
- Official Ellis Island search
- Better Ellis Island search
- Ellis Island manifest image (sometimes two images per page)
- Manifests became more detailed over time.
- Look especially for column 11 `The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came' and for column 18 `Whether going to join a relative or friend; and if so, what relative or friend, and his name and complete address'
- Federal Records:
- Social Security Death Index (SSDI) (deaths from 1962-date)
- Obituaries at legacy.com
- 1880 census (free)
- Other censuses (1830, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 on subscription sites such as ancestry.com historical records)
- 1940 census will be released in 2012 (72-year rule)
- year of arrival in census returns tends to be even more inconsistent than age, so check multiple years
- U.S. Research generally must be continued in state, county and city records, e.g.
- naturalization records (head of family only)
- births, marriages and deaths
- online newspaper archives (esp. death notices and obituaries; main papers allow one-day subscription)
- missing friends columns;
- Phone books online: