The Irish in America

Book of Names: Remembering Our Irish Women


Annie Hill Regan – circa 1900

Recently I submitted my great-grandmother Annie Hill Regan to Rachael Flynn’s  Irish Women of our Past – Book of Names project. Here’s how Rachael describes her very exciting project:

The BOOK OF NAMES is a project which aims to recognise the women in our past who have made the journey from Ireland to other lands.

Artist-researcher Rachael Flynn is currently working on an arts project through which people will be able to submit the names of their female Irish ancestors in order to build up a record that seeks to pay honour to their struggles and successes. 

By adding the names of their Irish mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers, aunts, cousins… the people who add names to this collection will have the chance to effectively ‘light a candle’ in memory of these relatives. 

Rachael asks for some basic information in order to add a female Irish relative to the  Book of Names: name, date and port of departure, destination, and your contact information. Very simple.

I had the data about my great-grandmother’s emigration, but I wanted to revisit the passenger list I had copied from ages ago. I remembered how exciting it was to locate this information because I knew for certain it was my Annie. I struggle with genealogy at times,  becoming distracted and discouraged quite easily. It always seems to me that it shouldn’t be so difficult to find the information you are looking for…

I had spent hours looking for other relatives, so I prepared myself for a long search. There was the question of her first name – would she be listed as Annie, Anne, Anna, or Ann? It had appeared in each form in some official document or anther. Then her surname – Hill can be English, Irish, Swedish, German, etc. And she emigrated to the United States around 1900, along with hundreds of thousands of other people!

I lucked out and found Annie on a passenger list not long after I began the search. I had not expected the departure port to be Glasgow, and I was a bit surprised that the list said Annie came from Kilkenny (Kildare was her home county) but I was certain I had located the right Annie when I read that her passage was paid by her brother-in-law Mr. O’Brien of Clontarf, Minnesota and her final destination was also Clontarf. Clontarf was a tiny town, this had to be my great-grandmother.

This morning I came across the following posting on a RootsWeb message board from 2008:

From the London Times of April 21, 1899 comes this ad:

Furnesia, 5,495 tons, April 27; Ethiopia, 4,001 tons, May 11.
Excellent accommodation. Cabin fares from £9 9s.; second cabin,
from £6.–A.H. Groves, 14, Rue du Helder, Paris; T. Cook and
Son, Paris and London; Henderson Brothers, 18, Leadenhall st. E.C.

The following comes from the NY Times shipping news:

May 13: “SS Ethiopia. (Br.,) Capt. Wadsworth.
(from Glasgow.) sld. from Moville for New York to-day.”

For days the NY Times lists her as expected on
Sunday, May 21. On May 22, however, she is listed
as expected that day. On May 23, “SS Ethiopia,
(Br.,) Wadsworth, Glasgow May 11 and Moville 12,
with mdse. and passengers to Henderson Bros.
Southest of Fire Island at 5:35 P.M.

– submitted by Marj Kohli

S.S. Ethiopia

Thank you Marj Kohli of Canada! I wonder where Annie boarded the S.S. Ethiopia? In Glasgow (she had sisters living in Manchester, England) or did she make the journey up to Moville on Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula? I don’t believe it says on the passenger list, but I will check it again.

I also wonder what held the Ethiopia up? It was supposed to arrive in New York on May 21st, but didn’t make it until May 23rd. Adventure on the high seas? Too bad Annie didn’t keep a travel diary (or if she did, too bad it didn’t survive!)

Click here to read more about Annie.

I am honored to have her name included in Rachael’s Book of Names along with all of the other incredible Irish women who made the journey to a new life. I encourage all of you with an Irish mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, cousin, or auntie to submit their name and their story to Rachael’s project. Visit her website here and follow her on Twitter for all the latest information. It is really a very easy process – take a few minutes and honor your Irish relatives!

Who will you submit? I have some more Irish ladies to get to – a couple more great-grandmothers, some great-great-grandmothers, and a few great-grand-aunts. I better get busy!

Annie and her chickens on her farm in Tara Township, near Clontarf, Minnesota


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...

13 thoughts on “Book of Names: Remembering Our Irish Women

  1. I have a great grandmother Alice Conor Walsh, who left Tipperary County Tipperary in about 1850, she brought with her to America her three nieces and a nephew . She went to America by way of landing in Massachusetts, met up with my ggpa Charles James Smith of Shellingford England, they locked lands in Glasgow Kansas , married and of that union came my lovely grandmother Alice Louise Smith … She was born in 1878 just after the Civil War.

  2. Pingback: Follow Friday — Genealogy as a Professsion, 7 Marriages, and A Hundred Years Ago | finding forgotten stories

  3. Aine – Thanks so much for such great information about this “Book Of Names” project. How fantastic to have your great-grandmother’s name included. You did a wonderful job finding her name on the passenger list for the S.S. Ethiopia. That must have been an amazing feeling of accomplishment. Clontarf, Minnesota is intriguing to me. I grew up near Clontarf, Dublin, so it makes me wonder if those that named the Minnesota town came from Clontarf, Dublin. Thanks again for this great link.

    • Mairead – Isn’t it a great project? I love the idea of paying special attention to our female ancestors who left Ireland, often by themselves, to make new lives for themselves in whole new worlds. They were so strong and gutsy…you must know a little about that! 🙂 In the case of Clontarf, Minnesota, the town was named by Archbishop John Ireland of Saint Paul, Minnesota who established several colonies for Irish immigrants in Western Minnesota and named them after important places in Ireland – historically and ecclesiastically. Near to Clontarf is Tara Township. There is no connection to Clontarf, Ireland, however most of the original settlers in the 1870s were immigrants from Ireland who had spent some time on the East Coast of the US working in the mills and machine shops in the crowded cities. They jumped at the opportunity to own their own land in a community of fellow Irish people with their own priest and church (all promised by Archbishop Ireland.) Probably more than you wanted to know about Clontarf, Minnesota! Thanks Mairead and I hope you are enjoying the weekend! – Aine

  4. What a great blog! You have so many interesting posts. A friend of mine visited Waterford recently and was dragged into the museum unwillingly by her husband and then…he couldn’t get her out of the museum, she found it so fascinating! Thanks for the tip about the Irish Women of our Past. I will certainly submit one or two ancestors to that project. And last but not least welcome to the GeneaBlogging community.

    • Thank you so much! They seem to do a great job at the Waterford museum – I can’t wait to visit myself this autumn. The Book of Names project is great – definitely submit your female Irish ancestors. Rachael has made it very easy and you can submit as much or as little information as you have. Thanks for stopping by the blog and come again soon!

  5. Aine, I had originally found your blog the other day through Twitter mentions, but now also see you are mentioned in GeneaBloggers. Thought I may as well add my two cents worth to say I appreciate what you are doing here on your blog! Best wishes as you continue this work.

  6. Very interesting post. My great-grand uncle married a lady from Ireland.

    • Thanks for the comment Jana! You should submit her to the book of names!

      • I still need to verify her immigration info. I’m not sure exactly where or when she came to the States. Her sister immigrated here as well. I’ll need to do further research for sure.

      • It is such as cool project. It is refreshing to focus on the women in our ancestry. Good luck with uncovering more info on your great-grand-aunt and her sister. It makes it easier sometimes if you are looking for two people rather thanjust one! Thanks, Jana! By the way, I am looking forward to spending some time nosing around your blog – it is fantastic!

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