Irish Canadian Famine Research

Irish Canadian Famine Research

Month: December, 2013

Roscommon Famine Orphans Adopted From Grosse Isle in 1847-1848


Irish Famine Orphan Thomas Quinn, from Lisanuffy, County Roscommon


Roscommon Famine Orphans Adopted from Grosse Isle in Quebec in 1847-1848:

Orphan                       Age      Parish                        Vessel

Anne Brennan (*)        13        Sinoffe                        Naomi

Dennis Byrne (* Died) 6                                             John Munn

Andrew Byrnes           18        Gilthristle

Mary Byrnes               16        Gilthristle

Michael Campbell       7          Lisanuffy        Virginius

Nancy Campbell         16        Lisanuffy        Virginius

Anne Conray (*)         14        Ballyglas         Georgiana

Brian Conray   (*)        12        Ballyglas         Georgiana

George Cox (*)           9          Bumblein         Virginius

Mary Cox (*)              7          Bumblein         Virginius

Andrew Dalton           13        Bumblein         Erin’s Queen

John Dalton                5          Bumblein         Erin’s Queen

Michael Dalton           6          Bumblein         Erin’s Queen

Suzan Dalton            16        Bumblein         Erin’s Queen

Bridget Egan (*died)  6            Hillglass          Erin’s Queen

Peter Egan (*)             16        Hillglass          Erin’s Queen

Thomas Egan  (*)        6          Elphin              Triton

Anne Feeney (*)         8          Bumblin          Virginius

Catherine Feeney (*)   18       Bumblin          Virginius

Catherine Feeny (*died)14     Bumblin          Naomi

Ann Folen                   8         Lisanuffy        Virginius

Michael Hanly (*)       10        Thriston           Virginius

Michael Hanley (*)     12        Thriston           Virginius

Patrick Hanly (*)         13        Gilthristle        Virginius

Bridget Holden           9          Strokestown    Naomi

Henry Holden             16       Strokestown    Naomi

John Holden (died)     7         Strokestown    Naomi

Mathew Holden (died) 12      Strokestown    Naomi

Anne Kilmartin           10        Lisanuffy        Virginius

Catherine Kilmartin (died) 12 Lisanuffy        Virginius

Mary McDermott        14        Fillglass           Naomi

Thomas McDermott (died) 12 Fillglass          Naomi

Maria Madden (*)       11        Lisanuffy        Virginius

Patrick Madden (*)     17        Lisanuffy        Virginius

Eliza Nolan                 11        Strokestown    Bleinheim

John Nolan                  12        Strokestown    Bleinheim

Catherine Nugent        10        Kildare [?]       Naomi

Patrick Quinn (*)        12          Lisanuffy        Naomi

Thomas Quinn (*)       6          Lisanuffy        Naomi

Bridget Reilley            7                                  Avon

Helena Reilly              12        Cork [?]           Avon

Mary Reilley               5          Cork [?]           Avon

Bernard Reynolds       13        Gilthristle

Ann Sheridan              15        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Catherine Sheridan     20        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Ellen Sheridan           12        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Mary Sheridan           19        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Owen Sheridan           14        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Pat Sheridan              10        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Alexander Stewart      18        Kildare [?]       Naomi

Catherine Tighe (*)     9          Lisanuffy        Naomi

Daniel Tighe (*)          12        Lisanuffy        Naomi

Mary Ward                  14        Kilrone            Charles Richard

Rosanna Ward           9          Kilrone            Charles Richard

(*) The Irish National Famine Museum in Strokestown, County Roscommon, is seeking to trace and make contact with descendants of Irish Famine emigrants from the area with the surnames above.

If you have any information on these families, please email the Archives at

Source: Marianna O’Gallagher, Grosse Ile: Gateway to Canada, 1832-1847 (1984): 117-143.

Irish Famine Orphan Thomas Quinn

From Strokestown to Quebec: Irish Famine Orphan Thomas Quinn

National Famine Museum chosen to host National Famine Commemoration 2014

National Famine Museum chosen to host National Famine Commemoration 2014

Minister Deenihan announces location for the 2014 National Famine Commemoration

Today, Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Chair of the National Famine Commemoration Committee announced Strokestown, Co. Roscommon as the location for the 2014 National Famine Commemoration.

Speaking today Minister Deenihan said “I am delighted to announce Strokestown as the location for the 2014 National Famine Commemoration. The ceremony will take place at Strokestown Park House and Gardens, host to the Irish National Famine Museum. The people of Strokestown have worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to ensure that the victims of the Great Irish Famine are remembered in a dignified and respectful way and that the people of Ireland have a rich collection of material which helps us to examine the themes of the famine such as blight, eviction and emigration”.

Minister Deenihan continued “Roscommon was one of the worst affected areas during the Great Irish Famine. In fact, 32% of the population was lost during this time. The Strokestown estate of Major Denis Mahon was by far the worst affected area within the County. In fact Denis Mahon initiated large-scale emigration from the area to Canada and many perished on the journey. It is fitting, therefore, that we will host the 2014 commemoration here.”

Strokestown was chosen for the 2014 location following an open application process whereby all counties in Connacht were invited to submit applications through the relevant local authority. Minister Deenihan thanked all applicants for their efforts during this process:

“I would like to thank all of the other local authorities who submitted applications. Your interest in the Great Irish Famine is welcome and I hope that you continue in your work in to remember the victims of this terrible time in our history”.

He concluded: “I would like to wish the community in Strokestown and the wider Roscommon area the very best in their planning for this event. I understand that they have proposed a full programme of events planned in the run up to the Commemoration and I would urge the community to take part in these activities and fully support this very special event”.

The date of the event will be announced in due course.

Grave of Irish Famine Orphan Daniel Tye in Quebec.

Maggie Gallagher and Caroilin Callery at Daniel Tye’s Grave
with Richard Tye and Gil Tye.

Descendants of orphaned famine emigrants in tears as they return from Quebec to Ireland

Descendants of orphaned famine emigrants in tears as they return from Quebec to Ireland

Descendants of orphaned famine emigrants in tears as they return to Ireland


IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Tuesday, July 23, 2013

It was an emotional sort of homecoming as ancestors of those who fled Ireland in the Famine returned at the weekend as part of the Gathering festivities.

Richard Tye, who lives near the Canadian city of Quebec and speaks only French, travelled to Roscommon to remember his great-grandfather Daniel Tighe.

Daniel and his sister Catherine were amongst those forced to leave Ireland on a coffin ship almost 200 years ago.

The Irish Independent
 reports that they were the only members of the family to survive the perilous journey.

The escape to America claimed the lives of his mother and three other siblings whose bodies they witnessed being thrown overboard after they succumbed to starvation and disease.

On Sunday his relatives were awarded a heroes welcome on their return ‘home’ 166 years later.

The paper says Richard Tye is the first descendant of close to 1,400 people from Strokestown who emigrated to Quebec during the Famine to return to his native soil as part of The Gathering.

He told the paper of the rush of emotion when he returned to his ancestral home and met members of the Tighe families in Strokestown, whom researchers believe are distant cousins.

Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “I had a rush of emotion and it just leapt out of my heart.”

Fellow Canadians Frances Kilbride (89) and her daughters Rose-Marie and Joan went through similar emotions as they toured the ruins of their ancestral home in Sligo.

Their ancestors Patrick and Sarah Kaveney fled to Quebec from Sligo in 1847.

Only Patrick, his wife Sarah and their son Martin survived from the family of eight after their ship ran aground, drowning 173 passengers.

The paper reports how Patrick Ward, a distant relative of Patrick Kaveney, took his new-found cousins on an emotional tour of the former family home.

He said: “I was very sentimental about it. When you know you are related to someone you find a gra for them. I felt that.”

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The Famine Irish: From Roscommon to Quebec

The Famine Irish: From Roscommon to Quebec




                                      STROKESTOWN PARK HOUSE     

                                                19- 20 JULY 2013


Day 1

9.00                 Conference Registration -Tea & Coffee

9.30                 Welcome

                        John O’Driscoll, Curator & General Manager Strokestown Park House


9.40                 Opening Address

                        Tim O’Connor, Chairman of The Gathering Ireland 2013

Session 1    

 10.00              Patrick Fitzgerald, (Mellon Centre for Migration Studies), Irish hunger,  migration and denomination, 1550-1850

 10.25              Jason  King (University of Limerick), From Roscommon to Quebec: Irish Famine orphans as models of integration

10.50              Lawrence W. Kennedy (University of Scranton),  Patrick A. Collins: An  emigrant in the U.S. Congress and Boston City Hall

11.15               Tea & Coffee


Session 2                       

11.30                Bláthnaid Nolan (University College Dublin), From Carlow to Athy to Hobart: Crime and punishment in nineteenth century Ireland

11.55                Gerard Moran (NUI Maynooth), ‘To the nearest place that was not Ireland’:  The Famine Irish emigrants in Provincial Britain

12.20                Brendan McGowan (Galway City Museum), The Famine Irish in Leeds & the unfortunate case of Patrick Bourke

12.45                           Lunch


Session 3       

2.00                 Gail Baylis (University of Ulster), Ireland, photography and Famine memory

2.25                 Ciarán Reilly (NUI Maynooth), ‘A Mayo man on the Cape’: Robert Stanford and Anti-Irish sentiment in South Africa in the 1840s

2.50                 James M. Farrell (University of New Hampshire), Reporting the Irish Famine in America

3.15                 Tea & Coffee


Session 4

3.30     Elaine Farrell (Queen’s University  Belfast), ‘Bad luck to you … you were the cause of my killing my child’: women transported from Ireland for infant murder

3.55    Gail Gráinne Whitchurch (Indiana University),  ”The Colony”  to Cleveland:  Autethongraphic case study of an orphan raised at the Achill Mission



Keynote address        

4.30.-5.30        Professor Christine Kinealy (Drew University, New Jersey),

                          ‘Chained Wolves’: Young Ireland in Van Dieman’s Land



NOTE: The Tye (Tighe) Family Homecoming will take place in Strokestown Park House on Friday evening, 19 July. For further details of the event & dinner please see



President Michael D. Higgins pays tribute to Grey Nuns and Irish Famine Digital Archive

Official photo of President Michael D. Higgins

Message from President Michael D. Higgins to pay tribute to Grey Nuns of Montreal and digital Irish Famine Archive

Message from President Michael D. Higgins to pay tribute to Grey Nuns of Montreal and digital Irish Famine Archive

 President of Ireland Seal Harp

Uachtarán na hÉireann

President of Ireland


I would like to congratulate and thank the University of Limerick on the development of this virtual archive which pays tribute to the Grey Nuns, those great humanitarians who played such an important role in looking after the many Irish people who had to leave our shores during the Gorta Mor – the Great Irish Famine.

During that bleak and terrible period of our history, an estimated one hundred thousand Irish people fled to Canada. It is impossible to imagine the pain, fear, despair and suffering of these emigrants, many of whom lost beloved family members on their journey. As a country we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the Grey nuns, who cared for so many Irish widows and orphans who were left destitute, impoverished and alone in a strange country.

This virtual archive is a very important project, which allows us to finally acknowledge the generosity and enormous humanity of those wonderful sisters whose great kindness and compassion, during one of the worst tragedies in our Country’s history, must never be forgotten.

Michael D. Higgins

Uachtarán na hÉireann

President of Ireland

County Louth native Thomas D'Arcy McGee

County Louth natives Thomas D’Arcy McGee (Carlingford) and Father Patrick Dowd (Dunleer) worked closely together to provide political and religious leadership for the Irish community in Montreal.

Virtual Archive of Famine Stories Launched at UL

Virtual Archive of Famine Stories Launched at UL

Pete St John, Irish Folk Songwriter and Jimmy Deenihan TD,Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, view the archive with chief researcher Dr Jason King, University of Limerick.

Virtual Archive of Famine Stories Launched at UL

Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, recently launched a unique virtual archive of famine stories at the University of Limerick. The archive translates the French language annals and pays tribute to the French-Canadian Sisters of Charity, or Grey Nuns, who cared for the Irish Famine emigrants in the fever sheds of Montreal during the summer of 1847 and provided homes for Irish widows and orphans. These annals contain extensive and highly evocative eyewitness accounts of the suffering of famine migrants in 1847.

Speaking at the event, Minister Deenihan said; “These annals contain extensive and very moving eyewitness accounts of the suffering of famine migrants in 1847.  Written in French and unpublished until now they were unknown to both scholars and the general public. As Chair of the Famine Commemoration Committee it is my role to ensure that the commemorations undertaken in Drogheda and Boston this year honour the victims of the Famine and also all those who selflessly assisted them at that time.”

The archive consists of numerous eye witness accounts and first hand testimonials about the suffering of Irish emigrants in the fever sheds of Montreal in 1847, and of the harrowing experiences of the priests and nuns who went to their aid and sought to provide homes for stricken widows and orphans.

Dr Jason King, University of Limerick is the lead researcher on the project. He explains the significance of the archive; “”The Typhus of 1847 / Le Typhus de 1847″ virtual archive makes accessible the stories of individuals and members of religious communities who risked their own lives to care for and provide comfort for Famine Irish emigrants in Montreal in 1847.  It provides a record not just of the hardships and suffering experienced by the Famine emigrants, but also a moving tribute to those who sought to help them.”

The Great Irish Famine of 1845-1850 was the greatest social calamity in terms of mortality and suffering that Ireland has ever experienced.  During those years, over one million people perished from hunger or, more commonly, from hunger-related diseases.  In the decade following 1846, when the floodgates of emigration opened, more than 1.8 million people emigrated, with more than half fleeing during the famine years.

The main annal in the archive is that of the Grey Nuns of Montreal which has been published in French in La Revue Canadienne under the title “Le Typhus de 1847” in 1898; the UL virtual archive is making this material accessible as it is completely unknown in the English speaking world.

The virtual archive can be accessed here:

The event was also attended by representatives of the Québec Government Office, London and the Embassy of Canada in Ireland. The project has been funded by the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Teaching and Research Boards, University of Limerick.