Earlier this month I conducted a webinar for the Friends of the National Archives, Southeast Region. The topic was Finding the Origins of Your Irish Ancestor in Federal Records. At the end of the webinar I was not able to answer all of the questions, so here are some questions and answers I received as a follow up.
Anne asked: "If a woman comes from Ireland by herself with a child, how do I find Naturalization? She came over with a child and was pregnant. Her husband was to come later but never made it.
The answer, will depend on the timeframe. Typically, women did not naturalize on their own prior to 1922 but derived their naturalization through their husbands or fathers. Not all males naturalized, so after 1922 a woman might naturalize on her own. Since naturalization conferred the ability to vote, if a woman couldn't vote she has little reason to go through the process. Having said that, some women did naturalize earlier and the process for finding her naturaliza-tion would be the same as for a man. Prior to 1906 naturalization could have occurred in any court, so you need to check the all the court records where she was living. If she remarried later on, check the records for her new husband.
Anne also asked the year of the first Irish census.
The first Irish census was taken in 1821 and every 10 years after that until 1911. There was no 1921 census because of the Irish Civil War, so the next census after 1911 was 1926. During World War I, the Irish government pulped the 1861-1891 census records and they were totally destroyed. The 1821 - 1851 census records were lost in the 1922 fire at Four Courts (the Public Records Office). Some fragments survive, but they are very limited. The oldest surviving census of Ireland therefore, is the 1901 census which, along with the 1911 census is available online through the National Archives of Ireland.
Jane and Linda both asked: Where do I find the registry of British Aliens (War of 1812) she mentioned?
This is a database available at Ancestry.com titled British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812. The original record is a book by Kenneth Scott published by Genealogical Publishing Company.
A couple of individuals asked about obtaining a copy of Grenham's Irish Surnames.
This is a CD published by Eneclann, and be ordered off of their website.
Karen asked where to find the Investigative Records that I mentioned.
These records are found online at Fold3 (FBI Case Files) and cover the period from 1909 - 1921.
A few people asked about researching ancestors who emigrated prior to 1820.
Many of these individuals were likely Scots-Irish, Protestants from Ulster who left to seek religious freedom. (See Blog on Scots-Irish here.) If the information on a locality is to be found, it's likely in some record in the U.S. Look at military pension files, court records and land records. Another possibility, if they were very early immigrants, is to identify the minister of the church and research him. Whereas later immigrants tended to practice chain migration (one person came and earned enough money to send back to Ireland to bring the next person over), the earlier immigrants tended to come in groups, even an entire church. Read local histories where they settled to see if there is locality information on other individuals in the community.
I hope some of this information is helpful to you. If you have a topic you would like me to write on, let me know.
Don't forget - one week to go until the release of the