New archaeological find gives insight into the lives of Irish immigrants in Baltimore


Other evidence came from census records that showed several generations living under the same roof. Even after children married, they remained with their parents and eventually inherited the house.

Family dinners: Ceramic plates were used at family dinners where everyone in the house gathered to share a simple meal, to bond, and transmit their cultural legacy. At the time, most Americans tended to socialize by holding large dinner parties, but Brighton didn't find the kind of serving dishes and utensils that would have been needed for such events. He concludes that the Irish immigrants didn't socialize that way and kept dining a family affair.

Social teas: Instead of dinner parties, the Irish brought the Old World tradition with them of socializing over tea. Over time, they maintained this pattern. Extensive tea service items testify to the practice.

Religious life: Early on, the Irish immigrants in Texas built St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, an imposing structure still in use. Records indicate extensive family involvement in various church-related activities, such as benevolent societies. Brighton also recovered religious medallions - further evidence, he says, of the centrality of religion in family and community life.