This is the second volume by David Dobson to identify vessels that traveled from Ireland to North America before 1850 and were known to, or were likely to, carry passengers. Based on research in contemporary sources–particularly newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic–this work identifies an additional 1,500 ships that were involved in transporting immigrants to the U.S. or Canada.
Mr. Dobson’s purpose in compiling these ship references is to help researchers overcome some of the obstacles they can face when attempting to trace Irish ancestors before 1820. The fact is that there are no official records of arriving immigrants for the U.S. prior to 1820, or for Canada prior to 1865. On the other hand, if the researcher can establish that an immigrant ancestor lived in or near a certain port of entry at a particular time, he/she may be able to “jump” the Atlantic by tapping into the records of the very vessels known to have participated in the transportation.
For each vessel cited in this book, we learn the dates and ports of embarkation and arrival, the source of the information, and frequently the number of passengers and the name of the ship’s captain. The following is a representative entry:
The author’s sources are itemized and coded at the front of the volume, where the reader will also find an informative essay on the conditions of colonial transportation to North America. While Mr. Dobson makes no claims about the comprehensiveness of these lists, he has nonetheless assembled another groundbreaking work on a subject of great importance to American genealogists.
Yeoman, master John Purdon, from Cork with passengers bound for New York, arrived there 5 September 1851. [U.S. National Archives. M333.4.26.]