This prodigious collection in excess of 15,000 gravestone transcriptions is the outgrowth of a twenty-year labor of love by Mr. and Mrs. Murphy to preserve and record the inscriptions found upon the tombstones of Potato Famine era (1846-1851) Irish immigrants buried throughout the state of Vermont. In their informative Preface, the Murphys provide a history of the Irish presence in Vermont, notably as laborers in the railroad industry, before going on to explain how they went about gathering their transcriptions, reconciling Irish surnames, and verifying claims made on the tombstones, such as those referring to military service. As a rule, only persons born in Ireland or the British Isles prior to 1855 had their tombstones transcribed. (While some Scottish and English death records may have erroneously crept into the volume, the authors insist they are few in number.)
The transcriptions are arranged by cemetery, each of which is named in conjunction with the town or village in Vermont where it can be found. For each deceased individual virtually all of the following information is given: name of the deceased, date of birth or age at death, date of death, cemetery code number, and name of spouse or other person possibly related to the deceased. In a number of cases, the inscriptions also disclose the deceased’s county of birth in Ireland, military service, parents’ names, etc. Preceding the text of Vermont tombstones is a helpful series of sketches of Catholic parishes in Vermont at the time of the Famine, each of which identifies the date of founding of the parish, location in Vermont, and events and persons at the founding. At the conclusion of the Vermont transcriptions are two sets of burial records from neighboring cemeteries in New York State and the Province of Quebec. This stellar, original volume concludes with a key to cemeteries, giving the town, the year(s) the church and cemetery were dedicated, year of first burial, and ethnic origin of the interred; a bibliography; and two indexes, one to Vermont Catholic parishes and the other, larger index, to the deceased.
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