The Irish in America

Patterns of Migration

Leave a comment

I just returned from a trip to New Hampshire.  New Hampshire is a state located on the East coast of the United States, north of Massachusetts.  My sister and I conducted research on several families who came from County Cork in the mid-1800s and settled in Concord, New Hampshire before moving west to Minnesota.


New Hampshire State House - Concord


Our first stop was the New Hampshire Historical Society research library.  We scoured the city directories and looked through other pertinent items in their collection.  We made some interesting discoveries, and along the way I was struck by a common pattern of Irish migration.

From the city directories it was very clear how the Irish came to the US.  They immigrated in waves, joining relatives who had previously settled in a certain area.  Given this pattern, the new arrival would have a place to stay, possibly a job waiting for them, and a community of family and fellow Irishmen ready to welcome a new member to America.

This is a key thing to remember when researching your relative who came to America: most often emigrants followed a path made by previous family members or neighbors.  Of course this was not always the case, but the migratory patterns of Irish coming to America are somewhat predictable.

Does anyone have a story to share, perhaps one that would prove the exception to my “theory”?  Please leave a comment.

I received the first inquiry and have found some promising results that I will share with Margaret.  She made it easy – she had some names, dates, and the place where they lived in America.  If you have a similar query, please don’t hesitate to ask me for help.

I would also be interested in hearing from anyone whose relatives settled in New Hampshire.  All over the state are towns named after towns or counties in Ireland, including Derry, Dublin, and Antrim.  The mills of Manchester and Concord, as well as the building of the infrastructure they required, created hard-laboring jobs for new immigrants.  The story was the same in most major American cities and towns during the Industrial Revolution.


Author: Aine

I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota. My heritage pretty much covers the map of Ireland: great-great-grandparents from Cork (Crowley, Foley, Regan), a great-great-grandmother from Clare (Quinn), a great-great-grandfather from Fermanagh (McMahon) and his wife's parents from Mayo (McAndrew), a great-grandmother from Connemara (Hannon) married to my great-grandfather from Laois (McCormack), great-grandparents from Sligo (Flannery), and a great-grandmother from Kildare (Hill). All of those people ended up in Minnesota, where my four grandparents were born. Three and four generations after my people left Ireland for America, I retain all Irish heritage. So much for the melting pot...

What do you think? Leave a comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.