Friday 25 October 2013

Assisted emigration to N. America: now in paperback

Sending out Ireland's Poor: Assisted emigration to North America by Gerard Moran has been published in paperback format by Four Courts Press.

This book looks at the 300,000 emigrants who went to North America from 19th-century Ireland and who had their fares paid by the British government, landlords, poor law unions and philanthropists. Most of these emigrants were among the poorest people in Ireland: workhouse paupers, landless labourers, single women or those living in the congested board areas where they encountered perennial destitution and near famine conditions.

Most of the assisted emigrants experienced harsh conditions in North America, too.

While some were well cared for, such as the Peter Robinson settlers to Ontario between 1823 and 1835, and the Tuke emigrants who were encouraged to settle in Canada and the mid-western states of the United States in the 1880s, others had more difficult encounters or were simply left to fend for themselves once they had disembarked their ship.

The 252-page paperback surveys nearly all the assisted emigration schemes, both private and official, that were implemented during the 19th century.

Gerard Moran is a lecturer at the Department of History, NUI Maynooth. I saw his presentation Searching for lost ancestors: Using transmigration studies at the Irish Genealogical Research Society's Open Day earlier this year and found it full of pertinent detail and context. This book, first published in 2004, reprinted in 2006, and now available in paperback for the first time, is of a similar depth and quality, and deserves a place on the bookshelf of any self-respecting Irish family historian.

It can be ordered from the publisher's online shop for €26.95