Famine immigrants' desperate search for missing loved ones
Their desperate voices speak to us generations later
Emer O’Keeffe embarked on this project with a personal resonance. “I came to the U.S. in 1983 to attend Northeastern University’s graduate history program,” she told Irish America. “The 1980s was a very grim time economically in Ireland, with huge numbers of people emigrating to the U.S., England, and Australia. Most of my undergraduate class ended up emigrating. But I was the only member of my large family to leave home, and back then it wasn’t as easy to stay in touch. We didn’t have cell phones or e-mail, and phone calls were more expensive. We wrote a lot of letters! It was easy to empathize with the homesickness many of the immigrants experienced; as well as the need to stay connected with family and to create an Irish community in America.”
Boston Pilot Listings from 1847:
16 October 1847
Of DENNIS MCCARTHY, late of Killmichael, co’y Cork, who sailed from Liverpool on the 1st of last May, and left his wife, Ellen Ahearn, in Quarantine near Quebec, in June. She is now in Troy, N. Y., and wishes to know his whereabouts. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by addressing a line to Ellen McCarthy, care of Stephen Duffy, Troy, N. Y.
Of JOHN QUILMAN, late of the parish of Inch, co’y Tipperary, who sailed from Waterford with his family last April. His daughter, Mary Harrington, wishes him to know that her husband, James Harrington, died on their passage to this country; also her two children since. She is now in Troy and wishes to know where her father is. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by Mary Harrington, care of S. Duffy, or Mrs. Daly, Fifth street, Troy, N. Y.
27 November 1847
Of ANTHONY and PATRICK WATERS, natives of co. Mayo. They are informed that their sister, Mary, who was married to Patrick Boyle, is anxious to hear from them. Her husband died on the passage. Should this meet their eye they will write to her immediately, care of the editor of the Pilot, Boston, Ms.
4 December 1847
Of BERNARD MURPHY, who emigrated from co. Armagh, parish of Grangemore, townland of Aughmagorgan, in April last, with his father and 2 sisters. He parted from his father at Quarantine Island, below Montreal. It is supposed he went to Kingston. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his father who is now living in Dover. If by letter, address Patrick Grimes, Dover, N. H., or John Doran, No. 6 Canal street, Boston, Ms.
11 December 1847
Of CATHERINE GILLEN, who landed in Boston last spring, with her father and family. She was sick and went to hospital and has not been heard from since. Any one knowing anything of her would confer a favor on her father, Hugh Gillen, by writing a letter to him in care of John Devlin, Pawtucket, R.I.
18 December 1847
Of BRIDGET CARROLL, a native of Killacooly, parish of Drumcliff, co. Sligo, who was taken into Grosse Isle hospital, below Quebec, in June last, and has not been heard from since. Any information respecting her will be thankfully received by her brother, Patrick Carroll, care of Mr. Samuel Downer, Second street, South Boston, Ms.
1 January 1848
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