The introduction of Voice of the Irish Immigrant provides an excellent synopsis of Irish immigration to the United States. The earlier immigrants tended to be middle and upper class families, looking to maintain their standard of living. Later immigrants, especially after 1820, tended to come more from the working class. Often these immigrants could not afford to travel as a family. Instead, individuals often came alone to seek work and help raise the monies necessary for the remaining family members to immigrate.
Economics, travel variations, and other events led to many immigrants losing touch with their various family members. With no Google or other easy way to find people, some turned to posting personals in the newspaper in an attempt to find their relatives. The full title for this book is Voices of the Irish Immigrant: Information Wanted Ads In Truth Teller New York City 1825-1844.
The Truth Teller was New York’s first Catholic newspaper, established in 1825. As many of the working class Irish were Catholic, it was reasonable for them to use the local Catholic newspaper to publish their “information wanted” ads. Collectively these ads mention the names of thousands of immigrants living all over North America. In addition, the ads name over 1,000 places of origin in Ireland. All ads are organized by date with indexes for individual names, place names in the U.S., place name in Ireland, and place names outside of the U.S. or Ireland.
Genealogists will delight in the information this book can offer about Irish immigrants. Here are a couple of examples randomly selected from the book:
“Of Patrick and Timothy Foley sons of Daniel Foley, of BALLEYVALLEY [BALLYVELLY], COUNTY KERRY, IRELAND, who came to the UNITED STATES in the year 1834. Any information respecting them will be thankfully acknowledged by their cousins James, Daniel, and John Foley, who live in GALENA, DAVIES COUNTY, ILLINOIS.”
“Of Margaret Dowlan, a native of the city of NEW YORK, who [married] in the year 1817, Patrick Dowlan, a native of Ireland then residing in NEW YORK. The maiden name of said Margaret Dowlan was Coyle. Should this meet her eye, or that of any person who knew her, or can give any information respecting her, and whether she is dead or alive, they will serve the cause of humanity and gratify the anxious feelings of her aged father by addressing a Letter to Mr. [Peter] Coyle, Post Master, VAN BUREN, GRANT COUNTY, WISCONSIN TERRITORY.”
I found these fun to read just to see the difference in writing style and manner of expression used back then compared to today.
Order a copy of Voices of the Irish Immigrant: Information Wanted Ads In Truth Teller New York City 1825-1844 from Family Roots Publishing; Item #:NYGS01.