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

     Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day! All over the world, people who have forebears from the “Emerald Isle”—and many individuals who don’t—will celebrate by wearing green. Therefore, this is the perfect time to let you know about a new book that will be helpful to many genealogists: FINDING YOUR IRISH ANCESTORS IN NEW YORK CITY by Joseph Buggy.

     Although a few Irish trickled into what is now the United States in the 1600s and 1700s, millions began coming during the years of the tragic Irish Famine, 1846-1851. Most of the Irish arrived at the port of New York, whether they were just passing through (some continued on to Canada) or became permanent residents in the city.

     Focusing on the Irish exodus to New York, Buggy presents a panorama of materials available for locating ancestors in America’s largest city. Incorporated in his overview are recent developments in local Irish genealogical resources, such as the discovery of the records of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank. His main goal is to highlight documents and publications that provide the place of origin in Ireland for more than 160,000 immigrants in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

     Buggy begins with introductory chapters concerning fundamental resources in New York City, such as vital and naturalization records, federal censuses, city directories, and wills and letters of administration. He also brings attention to underutilized resources like newspapers and records pertaining to almshouses, Potter’s Field, employment in the public sector, and city censuses.

     Next, he delves into ideas that researchers should consider when they encounter genealogical “brick walls.” Clues to overcome obstacles may be found in spelling variations, the possibility of a priest in the family, information about relatives of the immigrant ancestor, and knowledge of where individuals resided (the Irish concentrated in different parts of the city during different eras).

     Because most Irish were Catholic, the author provides background data about the church and furnishes a detailed roster of every Catholic parish that has existed in each of the city’s five boroughs, along with the earliest dates of parish registers. In addition, he lists all known Catholic cemeteries that have existed in the city. Since some Irish may have been buried in other graveyards, Buggy includes information about public and non-denominational cemeteries, too.

     He concludes the volume with a compilation of publications and websites that may compliment research in city records. He warns genealogists about the dangers of depending on internet resources because many of them contain inaccurate family data and errors in transcriptions of materials.

     In the past, a few genealogical publications have focused on general Irish family history in the United States. But Buggy’s work is the first comprehensive guide to the genealogical resources and strategies useful in locating forebears from Erin in America’s largest city and determining their place of origin in Ireland. Especially beneficial to persons tracing progenitors from the Emerald Isle in the 1800s and early 1900s, FINDING YOUR IRISH ANCESTORS IN NEW YORK CITY will be a valuable addition to genealogical library holdings.

     Reproducing an interesting picture of nineteenth immigrants on the front, the 165-page work has soft covers and includes a list of abbreviations used, notes, and an index. To the book's price of $19.95, 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. The volume (item order 776) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 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

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