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Tracing your Irish Ancestors

When Americans recall the Irish Potato Famine, they immediately think of the hundreds of thousands who emigrated to the U.S. between 1846 and 1851. But during that famine and at other times, Irish emigrants ventured to many other parts of the world, notably the British Isles, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, elsewhere in Europe, and Latin America. One of the many wonderful features of the 5th edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, by John Grenham, is its vast bibliography on Emigration and the Irish Abroad.  Following is a merely sampling of the sources you may wish to consult when sleuthing after your Irish emigrant ancestor(s).


Cowan, Helen I., British emigration to British North America, 1773-1837, Toronto: University of Toronto Library, 1928. NLC, 275 p.

Davin, N.F., The Irishman in Canada, Shannon. NLI Ir 971 d 1.

Elliott, B.S., Irish Migrants in the Canadas: A New Approach, Montreal and Kingston, Ont.: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2002. NLI Ir 942 e 7, 408p. Irish Protestants from North Tipperary especially.

Fromers, V., ‘Irish Emigrants to Canada in Sussex Archives, 1839- 47,’ IA, pp. 31-42. Houston, Cecil J., Irish Emigration and Canadian Settlement: Patterns, Links and Letters, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, and Belfast: UHF, 1990. NLI Ir  942 h 20, 370 p. Co-author, William J. Smyth.

Leeson, F., Irish Emigrants to Canada, 1839-47. From the Wyndham estates in Cos Clare (especially), Limerick and Tipperary.

MacKay, Donald, Flight from famine: the coming of the Irish to Canada, Toronto and London: McClelland & Stewart, 1992. NLI Ir 942 m 45, 368 p.

Mannion, John J., Irish settlements in eastern Canada: a study of cultural transferand adaptation, Toronto: University of Toronto  Press, c.1974.  NLI Ir  971 m11,219 p.

O’Driscoll, R., and Reynolds, L. (eds), The Untold Story: the Irish in Canada (2vols), Toronto: Celtic Arts of Canada, 1988. NLI Ir 971 o 67.

Typed transcripts of Canadian newspaper notices querying the whereabouts of emigrants, 1984, PRONI, DI3000/82. Mainly the New Brunswick Courier (1830-46) and the Toronto Irish-Canadian (1859).

Wilson, David A., The Orange Order in Canada, Dubl in: Four Courts Press, 2007. NLI, 213 p .


Adam-Smith, Patsy, Heart of exile: Ireland, 1848, and the seven patriots banished, their adventures, loneliness, and loves in three continents as they search for refuge, Melbourne, Vic: Nelson, 1986. NLI Ir 94108 a 5, 369 p.

Akenson, D.H., ‘Reading the texts of rural immigrants: Letters from the Irish in Australia, New Zealand and America’, Canadian papers in Rural History, Vol. 7, 1990, Gananoque, Ont.: Langdale Press, c.1978-c.1996. NLC.

Amos, Keith, The Fenians in Australia, 1865-1880, Kensington, NSW: New South Wales University Press, 1988. NLI Ir 994 a 18,330 p.

Australian Journal of Irish Studies, Perth, W. Aus.: Centre for Irish Studies, Murdoch University, 2001-. NLI 1H 94.

Bateson, Charles, The convict ships, 1787-1868, Sydney: Library of Australian History, 1983. NLI 944 b 13, 421 p.

Brownrigg, Jeff (ed.), Echoes of Irish Australia: rebellion to republic: a collection of essays, Galong, NSW: St Clement’s Retreat and Conference Centre,  2007. NLI, 269 p. Co-editors, Cheryl Mongan and Richard Reid.

Bull, Philip, Ireland and Australia, 1798- 1998 : studies in culture, identity and migration, Sydney: Crossing Press, 2000. NLA, 367 p. Co-editors, Francis Devlin-Glass and Helen Doyle.

Cam, A.M., Irish freemasonry in Australasia, South Plympton, S. Aus.: the author, 2006. NLI, 523 p.

Campbell, Malcolm, ‘A comparative study of Irish rural settlement in nineteenth-century Minnesota and New South Wales’, in Bielenberg, The Irish Diaspora. See McCracken under ‘Africa’.- Ireland’s New Worlds: immigrants, politics, and society in the United States and Australia, 1815-1922, Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin  Press, 2008. NLI, 249 p.

Cleary, P.J.S., Australia’s Debt to Ireland’s Nation-builders, Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1933. NLI Ir 994 c 6, 280 p.

Clinton, Brian Hankard, Clinton our name, from Erin we came, Wamberal,

NSW: the author, 1995. LC, 201 p. Patrick and Charles Clinton, who came from Ireland to Australia in 1877.