EMIGRATION stories from East Clare parishes to the United States will be the focus of a talk at Waterways Ireland Building in Scariff on Bank Holiday Saturday and Sunday, July 30 and 31 during the local Harbour Festival.
It will be followed on both days by free individual genealogical sessions to assist people in creating their family backstories or guiding them through stages of that journey.
‘An Epic Journey – from East Clare to Ellis Island’ is a story told through the eyes of professional genealogist, Jane Halloran Ryan, who will explore the reasons why a cross section of East Clare emigrants made the journey through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century.
“I will be telling the story of what brought people from parishes like Scariff, Mountshannon, Whitegate, Tuamgraney, Ogonnelloe and Killaloe, to board a ship for Ellis Island, looking into whether they remained in New York or went elsewhere and what they ended up doing,” said Jane.
The current Chair of Clare Roots Society and founder of Dalcassian Origins, a family history and research service website added, “I will be tracking their journey not only to Ellis Island but onwards from there too.”
Emigration during the Ellis Island years reshaped America. More than 12 million immigrants passed through the facility until it closed in the 1950s.
Almost half of the US households in the 2010 Census could claim that they had an ancestor who had passed through Ellis Island.
Of the 12 million who passed through, 3.5 million of them were Irish and many were from Clare. For genealogical research, the immigrant inspection and processing facility is an important starting point.
Jane is American by birth, but has lived for many years with her family in Tulla. She has been researching her own family history for many years and uncovered ancestors from sea captains to judges, from rebels to religious.
She received an MA in Local History from University of Limerick (UL) in 2017, after undertaking and researching her thesis ‘Agrarian Outrages in the Parish of Tulla, County Clare 1852-1894’.
She currently is a final year PhD student at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), focusing on networks between Irish and Irish American communities and their assimilation into Irish American culture in the late 19th century.
In addition to her talk ‘An Epic Journey- from East Clare to Ellis Island’, Jane will provide 12 free genealogical sessions over the festival weekend at Waterways Ireland Building, to assist people with genealogical queries.
She will advise on how to progress family research including specific repositories, websites and online sources.
Pre-booking is essential for an individual session, by registering interest including name, mobile number and preferred day to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday July 28. Following random selection the festival committee will notify people of their time slot.
“These sessions are particularly relevant for people, who are not just starting out to build their family’s backstory, but for those who are stuck on the journey,’ said Jane.
“Twenty minutes is a short time so come, where possible, with a specific genealogical question to maximise the time we have. I will do my best to guide you on the next steps towards further discovery.”
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at email@example.com or telephone 065 6864146.