First of all, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Many of the websites I’ve discussed have had special promotions for Irish research this month. I usually tweet about them when I see them, so if you’re on Twitter, you can follow me @DMoughty. I also mention them on my Irish Research page on Facebook and if you find the information helpful, I hope you’ll “Like” the site and share it with your friends. You can also subscribe to this blog by clicking on the link in the sidebar and will receive an email when I’ve added new information.
You may be familiar with FindMyPast.com and if you have a World subscription, you have access to their Irish collection. I’ve had a subscription to FindMyPast.ie for a number of years and last summer upgraded to the World subscription which in addition to the Irish records gives me access to the US, UK and Australian records.
Today, FindMyPast announced the addition of over 2 million new records covering emigration to America in the 19th century (1846-1890). These records appear to be the National Archives Passenger Arrival Lists as well as the Irish Famine Immigrants and are part of FindMyPast's US Immigration and Travel Collection. If you have a subscription to Ancestry, you already have access to these records.
FindMyPast.ie, however, provides some unique records I have not found on other sites. Emigration lists are those created at the point of departure and unfortunately, those records don’t exist for our Irish ancestors who emigrated in the mid 18th century. FindMyPast in its Irish collection has a record set titled “Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890 -1960.” If your ancestor emigrated late, or went back to Ireland to visit, you are likely to find them in these records. I originally found these records on the FindMyPast UK site and after many years of searching found the emigration of my Beighton ancestors. My family story said that the Beightons had lived in the US, returned to England for a period of time, then returned to Pittsburgh prior to the birth of my grandfather in 1892. I had been unable to find them in any of the passenger list indexes. A search of this database produced the record of the entire family traveling from Liverpool to New York on the Majestic departing the 26 August 1891.
A search of the US immigration indexes using the date and ship name, still provided no results. On a visit to the National Archives in Washington, I pulled the microfilm of the passenger list thinking that the family was probaby under the big blob at the bottom of the page. When I found them, they were clearly written at the top of the page…so why weren’t they indexed? I searched for the name appearing directly after the family, Ann Morton, then looked to see how the name had been indexed. They were indexed as “Brighton.” Although I had searched a number of variations, Brighton wasn’t one of them.
When this database appeared on the FindMyPast.ie site I searched on another family whose immigration record had eluded me. The name was Moag and the family was from County Down. Up popped the family, departing from Glasgow on 19 March 1891. The short distance between northern Ireland and Scotland made Glasgow a logical port for emigration to the US.
Although both of these examples departed from England and Scotland, this database also includes those emigrating from Queenstown in Cork.
Another unique database is “Transatlantic Migration from North America to Britain & Ireland 1858-1870.” This database only covers a short period of time, but includes about 40,000 individuals who for one reason or another returned to Ireland from the US.
FindMyPast might not be the first site you research when starting your Irish research, but once you know when and where in Ireland you ancestors lived, this site has many unique databases to help. Click here for a complete list of their databases. I’ll continue to write about them in the coming months.
Would you like to continue your research in Ireland? There’s still time to sign up for the Ireland Research Trip in October (either Dublin, Belfast or both).