Thursday, January 12, 2012

Connecticut's Immigrants: the Irish

           I could spend a lifetime describing how the Irish ended up in Connecticut. I'm sure we all can think of the basic causes: the Irish Potato Famine and political turmoil. However, it's usually more complicated. Don't forget to look at your ancestor's experience after the United States. It's often reflective of why they immigrated. Not everyone wanted to be an industrial worker in a city.
         How do you find records of your Irish ancestors? You can start by reviewing books on Irish genealogy. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors is one of my favorites. It's a good way to familiarize yourself with the basic local sources.  Then try to track down the local Catholic church. Many Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic, and their churches, often the oldest RC churches in Connecticut, document their life in great detail. Finally, don't forget immigration and travel records. I finally located my Irish ancestor's birth location on his daughter's passport. An ancestor's naturalization papers may also list that information.


  1. In 1885 & 1886 my Coyle family came from County Cavan, Ireland to Waterbury, CT. Do you have suggestions on how to find the Roman Catholic churches that would have existed at that time?

  2. Colleen,
    A Google search for Waterbury and Catholic churches will usual yield a list of parish websites. I look at the church history and then contact the oldest church. In this case, it appears to be Immaculate Conception. Good luck!