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Irish Relatives and Friends
From "Information Wanted" Ads in the "Irish-American," 1850-1871
The Irish-American, a weekly newspaper published in New York City for the edification of the Irish immigrant population, began publication in August 1849, at the height of the great exodus from Ireland. Besides news items of interest to the Irish community, the paper ran a popular classified section for people seeking information on relatives and friends who had recently taken up residence in the U.S. These classified ads appeared in a column entitled “Information Wanted,” and because of their genealogical value they have been transcribed in their entirety for this publication. The ads are of particular importance to the genealogist because they usually indicate the Irish county, townland, or parish from which an immigrant came, and virtually all Irish genealogical research is based on the identification of these jurisdictions.
In addition to naming former places of residence in Ireland, the ads often name places of residence in the U.S., provide names and relationships of family members, give dates of departure from Ireland and arrival in the U.S., indicate ships’ names, and sometimes specify ages and occupations. To help the researcher use this data efficiently, the compilers have assembled five separate indexes: Personal Names, Irish Place Names, United States Place Names, Other Places, and New York City Streets. Altogether, some 8,500 names appear in the Personal Names index alone; and there are references to several thousand place names.
The following ad is typical, and shows what a wealth of data awaits the researcher:
January 30, 1869
Of Patrick Colman, boot and shoemaker, son of Michael Colman, boot and shoemaker, of Flemings Place, Baggot Street Bridge, DUBLIN, formerly of DONNYBROOK. He sailed from the North Wall, Dublin, for New York, in the ship Ashland, about nineteen years ago. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his sister, Mary Ann Colman, by writing to John McKeon, 136 Market Street, Newark, N.J.