CollectionEmigration Database

Emigration database of c.26,000 transcripts of primary source documents relating to Irish emigration to North America (the United States and Canada) in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. The database can be searched by name, subject or date and contains a range of material from emigrant letters, passenger lists, newspaper articles and advertisements, official government reports, family papers and extracts from books and periodicals. The material on the database has been collected from a number of repositories including, for example, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Linen Hall Library, Belfast, Queen's University Library, Belfast and Central Library, Belfast. The project is ongoing, with documents being added on a regular basis.

The database can be accessed online here or in the library of the Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh and in the Local Studies Departments of the Education and Library Boards in Armagh, Ballymena, Ballynahinch, Belfast, Enniskillen, Londonderry and Omagh.

On publication of the original Directory the database included: 45 personal journals or diaries of emigrants or those who commented on the emigrant experience; 2576 letters written by Irish emigrants, including letters between Irish emigrants in America; 319 documents relating to Irish families or landed estates with an emigrant connection; 862 miscellaneous letters relating to emigration; 115 letters written to Irish emigrants in America; 3250 newspaper articles relating to Irish emigration; 446 official documents from state or semi-state bodies relating to emigration; 15 items of folklore relating to emigration; 1417 records of the births, deaths or marriages of Irish emigrants; 12 wills of Irish emigrants; 7280 shipping advertisements; 152 extracts of proceedings of the Houses of Parliament relating to Irish emigration and 3415 passenger lists, listing Irish emigrants travelling to North America, recording those who were born or died on ship and listing all passengers by name with age, occupation, where they sailed from and nationality, mainly dating from the 1790s onwards, but with 4 lists dating from 1700. The following is a selection of some of the material which is available:

Transcripts of the emigrant letters of the Fitzgerald family, County Tipperary, 1829-1907. These letters include, for example, a letter from Eliza Fitzgerald, New York, United States to her sister, Mary Fitzgerald Cahill and others, Quebec, Lower Canada referring to the death of their brother, 28 September 1847; a letter from Eliza Fitzgerald, New York to her sister, Mary Fitzgerald Cahill, Quebec referring to her sister's ill-treatment of her and family affairs, 6 June 1847. These letters have been copied from the originals in private hands in San Diego, California, United States.

Transcript of a letter written by Margaret Armstrong of Lurgan to her cousin Joseph Armstrong in Michigan, 9 January 1875 which states, 'I hope Henry is good tempered with his wife. She is a pretty good tempered healthy girl[,] the last two are indispensable in a good wife ...Hannah who is spoken of is going to be married to Averill Shillington he is attentive to her I hear - sees her home from meetings...if that is any sign in Ireland. I am sure he w[oul]d get a thousand pounds with her. ...Aggie Irwin was in lately...She is likely to be married to a young man who lodges in her father's...I rather think she is doing the courting-'. A photocopy of this document is held by the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.

Transcript of a letter from Patrick and Margaret Hall, Holly Hill to Sam Hall, Orange County, United States referring to his marriage and his mother's reaction to the same and stating, 'the later [sic] indeed effected your Mother verry [sic] much, she expected that you would have returned according to your promises, and was fully determined to have crossed the wide Atlantic with you should you again return to America...but now these pleasing ideas which have been long fetching in her imagination are as once blasted and she dejected', 17 May 1815. A photocopy of this document is held by the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.

Transcript of a letter from Mary, Catherine and Nancy Gallagher, [?Ballybofey] to their cousin, Catherine Hunt, Indiana, United States referring to family affairs, 13 November 1871. A photocopy of this document is held by the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh.

Transcripts of birth, death and marriage notices copied from various Irish and American newspapers, including the Banner of Ulster, Belfast Weekly News and the Belfast News-Letter, c.1767-c1950. These notices include numerous references to women. For instance, the death notice of Sarah Mackean in New York, formerly from Belfast states that she died 'after premature confinement, aged twenty seven years', Belfast News-Letter, 25 April 1843.

The items of folklore relating to emigration include a transcript of a poem entitled, 'The Emigrant' by a lady, published in the Armagh Guardian, 9 June 1871:
'There seems a curse upon our land,
That this the endless tide,
Her Sons and daughters leave the home
Of which they are the pride;
Those homes which often have, alas!
Little else beside.'

Transcripts of poems by Lucinda Elliot, entitled 'The Emigrant Ship', printed in the Belfast Mercury, 19 June 1852 and 'A last farewell to my native country' by 'Mary', printed in the Belfast Commercial Chronicle, 5 June 1811.

Transcripts of official documents of state or semi-state bodies, including affidavits and petitions for emigration passages, 18th-20th Century. For example, an extract from the Irish House of Commons, listing convicts and vagabonds to be transported and including the names of several women to be transported on the grounds of grand larceny and vagrancy from 1 January 1737-25 November 1743.

AccessAvailable online.
Century18th, 19th, 20th
Repository NameMellon Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster American Folk Park
AddressUlster American Folk Park 2 Mellon Road Omagh County Tyrone
EircodeBT78 5QU
Telephone+44 28-8225-6315
Repository Web Address