The Irish in America

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 Using the library’s extensive historical reference collection, they are tweeting as @Limerick1912, providing their followers with daily glimpses into Limerick City life one hundred years ago.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!


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...

3 thoughts on “Local Studies @ the Limerick City Library

  1. I stumbled upon your blog a while a go and I could not stop reading! I have thought of looking into my ancestry. Thanks for this it was really full of great family tree resources.

  2. It is such a fantastic resource an we are very lucky to have it.

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