Irish Famine   Leave a comment

An 1849 depiction of Bridget O'Donnell and her...

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Irish Ship Disembarking from Ireland for America

During the famine years some two million Irish left Ireland and those were only the ones who were able to scrape together the passage fare. Many remaining would have to wait until after the famine to leave. One quarter of the pre-famine population would leave Ireland in the famine years alone. Another quarter of the population would die in Ireland.
Most of the Irish emigrants went to the Northeast. All of our ancestors went to New York which received almost 200,000 Irish immigrants by 1860. Poor, uneducated, rural,most of the Irish were employed in the labor pool.
In the famine years, most of the immigration was in family units, though some males still preceded their families as was the case with John Cassidy who arrived in New York City in 1846 on the SS Stephen Whitney. His family, wife Margaret and children: John, Mary, Anne and Bridget, followed on the SS Columbus in 1849. Once in New York, The Cassidy’s took up residence at 34 W.Broadway. We find them on the 1855 NY State Census with John age 37 born in Ireland, living in the city for 8 years, a laborer, naturalized and Margaret born Ireland and living five years in the city. Children are listed as John, Mary, Ann, Biddy (Bridget), Hugh and Thomas. We see them again on the 1860 census in New York City where John is a laborer with the information that he cannot read nor write. His wife Margaret is listed as a housekeeper and children living with them are: John, Ann, Bridget, Hugh and Thomas.
The famine was largely responsible for the Irish determination to regain control of their own land,a struggle which we are witnessing today in Ireland.

Posted January 19, 2011 by dmacc502 in history, Uncategorized

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