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Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Bumper US delivery from Ancestry is full of Irish

During the course of the last week, Ancestry has added a number of new databases that will be of interest to Irish family historians.

First up is the Boston, Massachusetts, Catholic Sacramental Records, 1789-1900 Index.

The records are being digitised by the NEHGS
This is an index to the records collected by the Boston Archdiocese which historically included the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The index includes records of Marriage, Baptism, Confirmation, Birth, Burial, Death, Eucharist, Church Admission, Ordination, Intention, and Reconciliation. While no images are currently available on Ancestry, a link from each index entry takes the researcher to the image on American Ancestors, the website of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS); a subscription ($34.95, or $29.95 in an exclusive offer for Ancestry.com members) is required to view it.

With Massachusetts having been such an important destination for so many Irish emigrants over the years, the American Ancestors' collection will undoubtedly become an essential database for Irish genealogists. It is still very much a work in progress while the NEHGS digitises the 937 volumes of registers, which are estimated to hold about 10million names. The first upload to the Ancestry index comprises 415,182 records, a good first instalment. And to set out its Irish credentials, a quick sample of names shows there are 1,556 Donovan entries, 1,495 Quinns and 2,441 McCarthys.

Search the Boston, Massachusetts, Catholic Sacramental Records, 1789-1900 database.

Identifying details are pretty good. The baptism index typically include the child's name, date and place of birth, date and place of baptism and the names of both parents. Marriage index details include name of spouse, date and place of marriage.

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New Jersey State Censuses, 1855, 1865, 1875, 1885, 1905 & 1915

Six new collections from the New Jersey State Archive have been added, complete with images. The later two are likely to be the most useful for Irish researchers as they hold the largest numbers of Ireland-born individuals, and both the indexing and survival rate of the original returns are more complete.

New Jersey State Census 1855 – 76,013 records*.
New Jersey State Census 1865 – 220,568 entries*. Surviving records cover only 13 counties.
New Jersey State Census 1875 – 18,660 entries, Sussex County only. 603 were born in Ireland.
New Jersey State Census 1885 – 1,286,556 entries*. Surviving records cover only 13 counties.
New Jersey State Census 1905 – 2,185,283 individuals recorded, of which 87,224 Irish-born.
New Jersey State Census 1915 – 2,845,576 entries, of which 75,619 are Ireland-born

* Index does not specify birthplace.

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Brooklyn Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Employment records

Cornelius O'Sullivan in 1942,
from the Brooklyn Bethlehem Steel Shipyard files
This is a wonderful collection. It's a shame there are only 28,000 individuals recorded, and even more of a shame only 120 of them are noted as having been born in Ireland. However, if you're one of the very lucky ones to find an ancestor in this material, you may well find some treasure.

To give you an idea of the detail this employer recorded, here is notes from the service card of 52-year-old Cornelius O'Sullivan, who went to work for the Brooklyn company in Brooklyn in 1942. Born 7 Oct 1889 in Kerry, Ireland, both of Cornelius's parents were born in Ireland. He's now married to Louise and has three children, one of them under the age of 16. He lives at 541 West 144th Street, NYC. He had immigrated in September 1908 and his naturalisation papers are referenced. He's a machinist with 18 months experience. His last employer was Sullivan Dry Dock Company. There is also a reference suggesting he has worked with the coastguard service. He is 5' 5" tall, with grey hair and blue eyes and weighs 138lb. A head and shoulders photograph is attached to the service card.

He appears to have worked regularly for the Shipyard until the week before Christmas 1946 when he went on strike for six months. For the next 18 months he seems to have been unable to get more work from the company - the service file records 'Lack of Work' as the reason.

Search the Brooklyn Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Employment Records.

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