Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     If you are tracing ancestors who lived in Ireland, Brian Mitchell has just completed two new books that may be helpful in your search. One concerns genealogical resources in the Emerald Isle; the other tells the story of Irish emigration on a global scale.

     As its title implies, TRACING DERRY-LONDONDERRY ROOTS explores the materials available to individuals seeking their forebears in the city and county of Londonderry (also called Derry). Mitchell divides his work into three sections. His introductory chapters briefly discuss Derry-Londonderry’s background, including the usage of the name; area surnames like McCloskey; the importance of knowing the name of the townland where your ancestors resided; and the future of DNA in genealogical research.

     In his shortest section, Mitchell reminds genealogists to quiz relatives and record their information before beginning research in Irish records. For an example, he provides excerpts of author John Steinbeck’s reminiscences of his maternal line. His recollections serve as a reminder that the area was home to people of Scottish and English, as well as Irish, descent.

     The largest part of the book deals with the major genealogical resources. These include church and civil registers of births, marriages, and deaths; gravestone inscriptions; wills; censuses and census substitutes; Griffith’s Valuation; and Tithe Applotment Books. Mitchell tells where to find the materials online. In addition, he explains what holdings the local and national repositories have to offer, the hours they are open, and contact information. For many years, Derry was a major port for emigrants embarking for distant shores. Due to the accessibility to sea-going vessels, many inhabitants of the city and county moved elsewhere. If your ancestors were among them, you may find useful data to help in your search in TRACING DERRY-LONDONDERRY ROOTS.

     The 67-page publication has a map of Ireland on its front cover, charts, and maps scattered throughout the text. It (order number 8364) costs $15.95.

     A companion piece to Mitchell’s manual is DERRY-LONDONDERRY: GATEWAY TO A NEW WORLD. In this work, Mitchell recounts the history of departures from the late 17th century to 1939, the year the last trans-Atlantic steamer sailed from the port.

     The emigration of thousands of people during the 18th century established Derry as one of the chief Irish ports for the trans-Atlantic trade. Prior to 1776, thirty percent of Ulster Scots—approximately 75,000 individuals—left through Derry for North America. In addition, the American colonies obtained linen cloth and provisions through the port.

     By the 1850s, two local companies dominated trans-Atlantic trade from Derry. With the establishment of a railway system at the same time, Derry’s place was secured as the port for emigration for people from the counties of Derry, Donegal, and Tyrone.

     As he succinctly tells the story of the rise and decline of Derry’s role as a port of embarkation, he explains the changes in emigration from the age of sail to the age of steam. The alterations in passenger patterns over time included seasonal migrants going to Scotland and England to work and emigrants from the Londonderry workhouse headed for Australia. In addition, the author draws attention to certain emigrants, such as Reverend Francis Makemie and Stephen Foster’s great grandfather, Alexander Foster.

     Using facsimiles of passenger notices and lists, Mitchell adds insight into what many of the emigrants may have seen as they decided to leave Ireland. Anyone who has a progenitor who sailed from this important port will want to read DERRY-LONDONDERRY: GATEWAY TO A NEW WORLD.

     The 32-page volume has an interesting front cover, charts, maps, illustrations, photographs, and a bibliography for further reading. It (order number 8363) is priced at $11.00.

     Both soft-cover books may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website at To the price of the books, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $5.50 for one book and $2.50 for each additional copy; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $7.50 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book.

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