A major hurdle experienced by many family historians in North America is making the link back across the Atlantic to Europe. This is especially true for connections from the United States before 1820, when the recording of immigrants became compulsory. Canadian genealogists have an even more difficult task, as it was only after Confederation in 1865 that the regulation of immigrants was introduced. In 1828 the British government ordered that manifests listing passengers be maintained by shipmasters; some of these have survived in Canadian archives.
This book is designed as an aid to family historians in North America researching their Irish ancestry. It identifies vessels from Ireland known to, or likely to, have been carrying passengers. Sometimes the port of embarkation may indicate the district in Ireland that the emigrants originated from. The number of ships bound from Ireland to the Caribbean implies a two-stage migration pattern for immigrants–first they arrivied as indentured servants to the West Indies, then later moved to the mainland colonies. From the mid-seventeenth century onward, Ireland had a significant trade–especially in beef, dairy produce, and linen–with the English colonies in the West Indies; such trading links facilitated emigration. At the same time, the transportation of rebels and felons created sizable Irish communities in the Caribbean, such as in Montserrat. In due course there was migration from the West Indies north to the Carolinas and other British colonies in America. Most ships leaving Ireland bound for the Americas–following the winds and currents–sailed south to Madeira or the Azores, crossed to the West Indies, and from there headed north to the American colonies, though those bound for the Canadian Maritimes and New England crossed directly.
This is the fourth and final volume in the series Ships from Ireland to Early America, 1623-1850. It is based on both primary and secondary manuscript and published sources in North America, Madeira, Britain, and especially Ireland.