An antidote to Paddywhackery

Some years in the past, I used to be approached by a household within the US to do analysis on ancestors of theirs who had left Eire within the 1850s. In the midst of discovering out what they already knew, it emerged that this analysis was solely the most recent stage in a multi-generational quest that began instantly after emigration.

Like so many, the emigrant ancestors had been fleeing the aftermath of the Famine and had been compelled into the most affordable and most determined route. They traveled to Liverpool as deck passengers on a cattle transport from Cove, with all of the filth and distress that entailed, with a view to get entry to an affordable ticket to New York. In Liverpool, they spent weeks, husband, spouse and 4 youngsters, dwelling within the unimaginably overcrowded squalor of the town’s Irish ghetto as they waited for his or her passage. Then, after they had been lastly on the quayside and about to embark, they found that the youngest youngster,  four-year-old John, was lacking. Regardless of frantic searches he couldn’t be discovered, and so they had been confronted with the selection of staying, with the lack of their passage-money and the information of what awaited them in Liverpool, or leaving with out the kid. They left.

Embarking from Liverpool

Instantly after arriving within the US, the mom started to write down to Liverpool police stations, orphanages, charities, anybody who may conceivably have come into contact together with her youngster, and continued to write down for the remainder of her life. She by no means found what occurred to him. Her different youngsters needed to promise to proceed the search after her demise, after which her youngsters’s youngsters after which their youngsters in flip. Over a century and a half, the agony of that loss turned embedded within the household’s story of itself, technology after technology, every one taking on and pursuing the misplaced youngster once more.

A whole bunch of 1000’s of tales like this are what lie behind Irish-America. After we’re tempted to jeer on the Paddywhackery of St. Patrick’s Day, we must always consider them.

A fuller account of the household and their journey is at