The Irish in America


There’s More to Waterford than Crystal

It is great to see museums, libraries, and archives promoting their collections using social media and the internet. This is particularly exciting for those of us researching our Irish roots.

Earlier I shared the fantastic work of digitizing collection materials happening in Limerick City – at the Library and the Archives – and I told you how much I enjoy @Limerick 1912, the Twitter account for the Local Studies team at the Limerick City Library. I have been equally impressed with the tweets from the folks at the Waterford County Museum. Every day they share several historical photos and facts from their collection. Click here to see what they are tweeting today.

Here are a few examples of the great images @waterfordmuseum has tweeted in recent days: a charming 1950s scene from Ardmore beach, a ship undergoing maintenance in Waterford harbor in 1902, and a 1962 snapshot of a man, his horse and cart, transporting lobster pots.

If you prefer to browse the collection at your own pace, you may search the photos here by photographer, subject, location, or date. The featured “photograph of the week” is accompanied by a brief description of the photo and photographer’s bio. Some photographs are even available for purchase directly from the website.

Of course, the Waterford County Museum has more than just photographs. Visit their website to learn more about other collections, exhibits, and resources. The museum is located in Dungarvan, County Waterford.

The museum tweets got me interested in the history of Waterford, so I took a look around to see what other resources were available on the internet for people interested in County Waterford’s history.

The Waterford County Library has made historic issues of the Dungarvan Leader, the Dungarvan Observer, and several local papers available online. This is a fantastic resource for anyone interested in local Waterford history and can be especially useful for those who trace their roots to the Waterford area. Click here to begin exploring the collection. The library also has other great family history resources including a database of Waterford Death Registers.

The Waterford Archive has collections of family papers, County Council records, the Lismore Estate papers, and Board of Guardians and Workhouse records. These materials are not available online, but for each collection there is an extensive descriptive list available on the website.

Lismore Castle, County Waterford (2009, R. McCormack)

The Lismore Estate Papers look very interesting:

The Lismore Castle Papers contain records on the administration of the estate, including, records on the running of Lismore Castle and Gardens, the Castle Farm, the woods, mountain, Lismore Sawmills and the Blackwater Fishery. The collection also includes detailed records on the tenants of the estate, including, rental books, tenant application books and tenant correspondence. The estate was also involved in a number of major projects in counties Waterford and Cork, such as, the introduction of the railways.

If your ancestors came from the Waterford/Cork area and were farmers, there is a good chance you could find something in this collection about their life before emigration. The staff at the archives asks that you carefully read the descriptive lists before planning a trip to the archive.

This is just a glimpse at what is available in County Waterford for history buffs. Do you trace your family tree to County Waterford? Let me know if you learn something new by taking a look at the Waterford County Library, Archive, and Museum.

Along the Copper Coast…



Limerick City Archives + A Fourth of July in Ireland

Last time I wrote about the great collections at the Limerick City Library and the great tweets by the Local Studies Team. Next I would like to take a look at another member of the Limerick City Council Family – the Limerick City Archives.

Of its extensive digital collection, the City Archives website says:

Limerick City Council is the first local authority in Ireland to make archive collections available online. The digitised collections are freely available to the public to promote research into the history of Limerick City via a virtual archive.

The Digital Archive Collection is divided into two categories: the Limerick City Council and Local Government Collection and the Private Papers and Business Collection.  

The City Council and Local Government Collection contains:

Want to know who registered the first car in Limerick City? Look no further than the Registration of Motor Vehicles 1904-1982. You will also find out the type of vehicle, how much it weighed, what it used for, and the address of the registrant. Maybe public health is more up your alley? Well, take a look at the Public Health Services Pre-1960: Limerick City Council. Clicking on any item in the list above will bring you directly to that section of the City Archives website.

I was excited to look at the Limerick Union Board of Guardian Minute Books, 1842-1922. A few months ago I featured the Board of Guardians Minute Books from the Killarney Union workhouse, so I was interested to see how these books compared.

The Killarney books represented just four years of meetings, while the Limerick collection spans nearly eighty years and the entire life of the Limerick Workhouse. The minutes from Killarney are transcribed which makes them easier to “browse” through, but if you have some time, the Limerick books are fascinating. The main page of this section includes extensive description as to what the various years contain which is very helpful in guiding researchers.

The Private Papers and Business Collection contains these items:

This is a lot to take in, I know. When I stop and think of the hours it took to complete this digitization project, it boggles my mind! I browsed in the Christian Brothers school records, the Lloyd Family Papers, and the Limerick Bakers Society. Great stuff for anyone tracing their roots to Limerick City or with general interest in Irish history. All of these historic documents are literally right at your fingertips! Just click on any item in the list above to get started. You will need to download special software to view this virtual archive, but it only takes a minute – just follow the directions.

Thanks to the folks at the Limerick City Archive for their dedication and hard work! You might also like to check out the Limerick City Museum.

Before we leave Limerick, I wanted to introduce you to a fun event happening this July 4th…in Ireland.  Visit the 4th of July Limerick website for more information on the festivities planned to mark America’s big day. Here’s what they have to say:

The 4th of July is all about celebrating America and everything the dream of America’s founders stands for. Summed up best in the second sentence of the US “Declaration of Independence”.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

So celebrating the 4th of July is about casting off the shackles of everyday life and for at least one day a year using the freedoms you have to pursue happiness to the fullest.

This year we want to celebrate Ireland’s connections with the US and our nations shared heritage by celebrating America’s Independence day on the 4th of July in a way never done before in Ireland. Not only that but we want to do it in true American style and that means doing it BIG.

I love it!  If you are on Twitter, check out their tweets by following @4thjulylimerick – click here!


Local Studies @ the Limerick City Library

I love what the Local Studies Team at the Limerick City Library is doing on Twittter. Using the library’s extensive historical reference collection, they are tweeting as @Limerick1912, providing their followers with daily glimpses into Limerick City life one hundred years ago.

From the content of @Limerick1912‘s tweets, I gathered that the Limerick City Library had quite a collection, so I decided it was time to take a look at what the library was all about.

The Local Studies Department has great on on-line offerings:

If you trace your Irish roots to Limerick, you really must visit this website. I have no family connections to Limerick, yet I managed to spend a good chunk of time perusing the collection, especially the Obituaries & Death Notices section. Here you will find notices from the Limerick Chronicle for the years 1850-1909, and they are indexed by year, as well as alphabetically – very researcher-friendly! Oh, and they also include maps for the years 1856-1893, showing where each death occurred – simply click on the pin and the information pops up with a link to the actual notice.

The map feature is very useful for people like me who are interested in the Irish in America. Simply click on a year, look at the map, and see if any US deaths were reported to folks back in Limerick.

For example, when I clicked on 1883 in the Obituaries & Death Notices section, a page containing a map and an alphabetical list of notices from the Limerick Chronicle for 1883 comes up. The map shows 5 listings from North America, 122 from Europe, and one from Dalhousie, India. If I click on North America I can see the specific locations of the reported deaths. There are several clustered on the East Coast, but I choose the pin in the middle of the United States.

A balloon pops up with the following information: “Mary Ann Goggin, Kansas City USA, Date: 28/04/1883, Notes: wife of Robert Goggin native of Limerick, death notice”. Click on her name and a PDF image of the newspaper page containing the notice opens.

The full notice reads:

Goggin – March 20, 1883    Mary Ann, wife of Robert Y. Goggin (a native of this city), of congestion of the brain, at her late residence 1110 East Eleventh Street, Kansas City, Mo.

This would be a fun “find” for someone doing genealogy on the Goggin family, or perhaps someone interested in the Irish in Kansas City.

What I find so interesting is all the other information we can learn from a portion of a newspaper page. Along with notice of Mary Ann Goggin’s passing, we learn the price of butter at the Cork Butter Market and the May schedule for fairs throughout Munster.

You might even stumble upon an international event while browsing local death notices. I was drawn to a 1904 report of the death of a ship’s cook named Douglas Campbell who drowned while his ship was docked at the quay. This scenario intrigued me, so I clicked to see the actual notice. Before I could learn about what happened to poor Douglas, I read this headline:




In a report from St. Petersburg, Russia: “The Tzaritza was to-day delivered of a son…at 12 noon…the Tzarevitch has been given the name of Alexis.” The report goes on to say that St. Petersburg would be decked out with flags to celebrate. Take a look at the page from the August 13, 1904 edition of the Limerick Chronicle – click here.

And what about Douglas? Sadly, he apparently fell into the river on his way back to the ship after a visit to town.

Take a look at the Limerick City Library website and let me know what you discover! And if you are on Twitter, you should definitely follow @Limerick1912 – just click here, sit back, and enjoy a trip back in time!

Coming soon…we will take at what the Limerick City Archives has to offer!