Irish Emigration Records represent a real challenge for those searching for evidence of the departure of their family from Ireland. Passenger lists were usually deposted a the port of arrival and many of the surviving records can now be found online at Ancestry. Arrivals in America can also be found at Ellis Island and Castlegarden. There are, however, other sources where you might find emigration records for your Irish ancestors. We have recently come across two unusual Irish emigration records.
Isolated records for emigrants from specific areas in Ireland are constantly coming to light; unfortunately there is no consolidated index that identifies these disparate and isolated sources.
During a recent examination of the parochial records for the Roman Catholic Parish of Stamullin, Co. Meath, one such small and isolated emigration manifest was happened upon. The Catholic Parish Records for Stamullin are unusual in a number of respects: firstly, the records include an extensive burial register; while this is not especially uncommon in Co. Meath, few other counties in Ireland are quite so replete with Burial Registers; and secondly, the Parish Priest kept a comprehensive list of his parishioners who emigrated during the periods 1863 to 1873. Judith Eccles Wight published a transcript of this emigration record in its entirety in the Irish Genealogist, volume 8, no. 2 (1991), p. 290-2.
The emigration records include the name of the emigrant, occupation, the date they left the parish, marital status, address, age and destination.
The first listed emigrant was Christopher Tiernan, who left the parish on 6th February 1866 for Sidney [sic], Australia. He was a 25-year-old labourer, unmarried from Laytown. The last entry is for David Bobbitt, who, with his brother, left Stamullin on 3rd November 1873. David Bobbitt was 21 and his brother was 30. Both were from Moate Hill.
The reasons for people leaving the Stamullen area during the periods 1863-73 are not clear. However, the Census of Ireland Abstracts highlight the priest’s concerns: between the Censuses of 1861 and 1871 the population of the Civil Parish of Stamullin fell from 892 to 674 and the Civil Parish of Duleek, also encompassed by the Roman Catholic Parish of Stamullin, fell from 2,113 to 1,909. This was a greater decennial net loss of population than that exhibited during the decennial periods 1841-51, during which the Famine took place.
The second minor emigration list, actually not quite so minor, is the so-called ‘McCabe List’. Discovered by the Belfast genealogist John McCabe in the Public Records Office – now the British National Archives, Kew – in the 1980s. The list dates from 1829 and was compiled at the behest of Lt-Col John By, then in charge of the Royal Engineers building the Rideau Canal in Upper Canada who sent the list to the Colonial Office.
The list consists of 635 named Irish emigrants, together with their village, Townland, Parish and County of origin in Ireland. What is remarkable about the list are the remarks made next to each name. These remarks refer to the emigrants relations still in Ireland, who also desired to emigrate to Canada. The remarks include the name and relationship of the person in Ireland to the emigrant, where they lived, the extent of their family and the name of the person who could or would attest to their good character. The names of potential emigrants provided in the list is thus expanded to several thousand. The McCabe List was published in full by Bruce S. Elliott in 2002 as The McCabe List: Early Irish in the Ottowa Valley (The Ontario Genealogical Society, Toronto, 2002). There is a partial transcript of the list at in the Irish Emigration Database which has the first 280 names. The list is also now fully indexed at Ancestry and included in “Canada, Immigration and Settlement correspondence and lists 1817 – 1896