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Far from the short grass: Looking for Kildare emigrants in the new world

During the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s more than a million people left Ireland bound for new lives scattered across the globe. Owing to very limited and ineffective communications network many simply lost touch with their families. From 1831-1921 more than 40,000 advertisements were placed in the Boston Pilot newspaper in America from people wishing to find relatives who had left for Canada and America, including several for people from the Carbury area. These included, for example, John Boyle from Carbury village who left Dublin bound for Quebec in 1831 and who was being sought by his brother Patrick who had settled by 1854 in New Jersey. Patrick was joined by Lawrence and Martin Dunn, his brothers in law. Thomas Beaty from Cadamstown was sought by Bridget Fox residing in Sussex County, New Jersey. Sadly Fox also sought her mother Elizabeth and siblings Marcella; James, John from whom she had disconnected. The Fox family had lived at Cadamstown, as had Philip Gaffney who was sought by his brother in 1851 three years after he landed in New York City. Ann Farrell of Mylerstown was last known to be living in Covington, Kentucky. John Gorman left Moyvalley in 1844 and was believed to be in Rochester, New York. In 1847 his father Michael went in search of him. Another resident of Rochester was Margaret Harvey of Kilrathmurray who arrived in America in 1852. Michael Kirwan from Nurney, Carbury arrived in Baltimore in 1844 and quickly found work as a collier but had lost contact with family. A neighbour of Kirwan’s was James McKenna who settled in Boston in September 1848.  Another arriving in the USA in 1848 was Michael Mullaly from Ardkill. Catherine Coffrey from Johnstownbridge sought her two sisters Ann and John Lane in 1853. James Paine of Ballindoolin settled in Monmouth County, New Jersey in 1851.


  1. My Gt.grandparents were Williams from Edenderry (not the Quaker family) and Cleary from Kishevanna. My Gt G.father went to USA when my grandmother was only 1 in 1894.(Did he abandon them ? Did he go for work?) Have never been able to trace him. Have often wondered if there was a particular part of USA where Edenderry/Carbury folk settled? Would have loved to attend that lecture on pre famine Carbury - any notes available? Love your site - but wish I could subscribe to updates!

  2. Thanks very much for your comments Silvervoice. We are trying to figure this out but I don't we have the function on blogger site to allow people to subscribe.

    That is interesting re the Williams and Cleary family. We will look up records here and see what we have on these families.

    The lecture on Carbury was very well attended. Will ask Ciaran McCabe about a summary for you and see can we post it here.


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