Genealogy can be simply defined “as the study of tracing lines of descent for one’s ancestors”, but we hope to convince you that “chasing” your ancestors in Ireland is about much more than the dates and records you will find. Yes, you will be searching for baptism, marriage, death, census and land valuation records. However, the “chase” should really be about finding out how your ancestors lived, why they left the beautiful Emerald Isle, who was left behind, how they traveled to their new homelands, and the discrimination and challenges they faced when they arrived in the U.S.

Some of Kate’s Irish ancestors came to America believing that the streets were indeed “paved in gold”. It must have been a rude awakening when they landed in New York harbor. Like most nationalities, many of the Irish who arrived in New York City in the mid to late 1800s fled poverty at home only to face dirt and disease in overcrowded tenements. Fortunately, Kate’s ancestors made their way to Albany, NY where the Irish were welcomed. The city was going through a tremendous growth spurt and thousands of laborers were needed. The City of Albany and Catholic Diocese of Albany partnered to bring in Irish laborers and their families to fill the labor void.

Mike’s Irish ancestors emigrated to the U.S. just before, during or shortly after the potato famine in the mid 1800s. They ended up in northwestern New York near the St. Lawrence River and entered the U.S. through New York City, Boston and Canada. They brought with them their skills as farmers and laborers. The Irish indeed benefited from chain migration. Wave by wave, the Irish came to the U.S., saved their money and sent it back to Ireland so more family members could come in the next wave.

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