Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Kiss me - I'm finally Irish!

This is my first year that I can celebrate my Irish heritage on St. Patrick's Day.

In the year since, lo, the Chicago River ran green, my mother received some genealogy information from her mother's side of the family.

The image above shows a part of the passenger manifest of the Brig Hannah, which sailed from Londonderry, Ireland, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1836. The fifth passenger listed is James Morrow, a 21-year-old weaver. He is the earliest ancestor of mine that I can trace, the first known to have come from the Old World to the New.

To this point, I had no idea that I had Irish blood. Polish, German, Italian - those we were sure of. It's quite possible that another ancestor was Serbian and may have killed an ancestor of a friend of mine from Twitter. Thankfully, that one is unconfirmed.

The Hannah sank in 1850 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Cape Ray on Newfoundland on its way to Quebec City from Ireland during the famine. Of the nearly 200 passengers and crew aboard, 49 died after the ship hit an iceberg. A Canadian documentary, "Famine and Shipwreck: An Irish Odyssey," lays out the story of the Hannah, the actions that led to the sinking, and one family's search for their own roots in Ireland.

"In order to survive, the poor were forced to abandon all their property and take refuge in Dickensian workhouses or board coffin-ships bound for Canada and the United States," the documentary's site says of Irish immigrants during the Potato Famine. "But that was another famine nightmare and many never made it alive."

Here is the full list of the Hannah's passengers from the voyage my great (and then some) grandfather took:

No comments:

Post a Comment