With this volume David Dobson sets out to overcome some of the obstacles facing North Americans attempting to trace ancestors in Ireland prior to 1820. Researchers with colonial Irish ancestors must contend with the fact that no official records of arriving immigrants exist for the United States prior to 1820, nor prior to 1865 in Canada. 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 may be able to “jump” the Atlantic by utilizing the records of the very vessels known to or likely to have transported passengers from Ireland to North America between 1623 and 1850. Modeled after a similar volume compiled by the author for Scottish vessels of this era, Ships from Ireland to Early America is an alphabetically arranged list of 1,500 vessels known to have embarked from Ireland to North America. For each vessel we learn the dates and ports of embarkation and arrival and the source of the information, and frequently the number of passengers and the name of the ship’s captain. In the compilation of the volume, Mr. Dobson combed through contemporary newspapers, government records in Great Britain and North America, and a small number of published works. 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 as to the comprehensiveness of this list of Irish vessels, he has nonetheless assembled another groundbreaking work on a subject of great importance to American genealogists.
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