Monday, February 27, 2017

Joining the Diaspora

As described in the Wretched Ireland post, migration from Ireland was propelled by poverty and the Great Famine of the mid 19th Century. Beside the 'push' of poverty, a significant attraction for the Irish was the perceived greater opportunity to be found across the ocean in the new lands. America was the primary beneficiary of this 19th Century Irish Diaspora.

Pamphlet advertising the benefits of emigration to North America - Click on image to enlarge




Sarah and Isaac Graham
Anna's Irish ancestors began their participation in the great Irish migration at the beginning of the Potato Famine. In 1840, the first to make the trip were the Graham sisters, Jane and Matilda and their brother James. The three of them left on the same ship from Londonderry to Philadelphia,

The second to make the trip were Isaac and Sarah Love Graham, within a year of their marriage in 1842. As seen in the chart at the bottom of the first post, these two people also symbolized the connection between the two main ancestral branches of Anna Love Graham.

It was thought that the rest of the Graham siblings, except one, took ship passage to America before 1850. The one exception being Anna's grandmother, Anne (Nancy) Graham Killen, who remained in Ireland until 1874, decades after her siblings had settled in America. As would be discovered later in in my research, there were two other Graham sisters who decided to remain in Ireland.



William Love, Anna's future father arrived in America with his family in 1862
The family of Samuel Love had a harrowing voyage to America. Although I am sure it seemed like a grand adventure to some of the children.

When they departed from County Tyrone, Ireland in 1862 it was as one family on the same ship - Samuel, Mary and all six of their children; ranging from infant Margaret to 18 year old William (Anna's father). 

The vessel on which they came was in passage for between three and four weeks when it was driven from its course by a gale when only a few days out. Instead of landing at New York City as intended, they found harbor in Quabec, Canada. From there they journeyed to New York via the Hudson River. The Civil War was raging at the time and the boat was so crowded with army mules that there was scarcely room for passengers. 

In New York City the family boarded a train. When they arrived in Watkins Glen they were met by Isaac Graham, Samuel’s brother-in-law who had left Ireland about 20 years before. (Source: Watkins Express of Nov. 17, 1982)




Robert Killen, the father of the family, never made it to America. He died in Kilstroll, Ardstraw Parish, County Tyrone, Ireland on October 17, 1862. At the time of his death, the children ranged in age from three for the only boy John to Eliza's fourteen. After Robert's death, the children spent the remainder of their childhood in Ireland (perhaps Londonderry), shipping out to America as adults. 

The Killen children sailed individually to America during the 20 years starting in 1865. The first to emigrate from Ireland was Nancy's oldest child Eliza, Anna's future mother, who arrived in New York City from Londonderry July 24, 1865. Her sisters Sarah and Matilda followed in 1868.

Granting of the Estate of Robert Killen per his will
Robert's widow, Anne (Nancy) Graham Killen, left in 1874, two years after she was granted the estate of her husband, an amazing ten years following his death.

The 1880s brought the last of the children, Margaret in 1881 and John, the youngest in 1883 at the age of 25.

More details respecting the Graham and Killen emigration are found in the next posting.

Name, Age and Date Disparity

Sometimes a record is accepted as representing a person of interest when the name, age and/or dates don’t seem to match. How can this be justified? 

Names were frequently misspelled on passenger lists and census forms. If everything else seems to match and the misspelling is still relatively accurate phonetically, the record may authentically represent the person of interest. Inaccurate spelling was relatively common in the 18th and 19th centuries, and more recently.

Age may not match because the record maker misheard. The subject person may have purposefully lied. For example, a teenager on a long sea voyage may give an older age to seem more mature or for perceived self-protection. On the other hand, a wife may give a younger age because she is actually older than her husband and has lied to him from the beginning. As one gets older, potential employment may be easier if a person says they are younger than actuality.

Lastly, dates may not match because we forget. Even the year when milestones in life occurred may become confused by the fog of time. Census accuracy 80 or more years ago was dependent on the household member at home when the census taker knocked on the door. If in 1900 Mary forgets the year Ellen immigrated more than 30 years ago, we may end up with a different date than in 1910 when another family member happened to be home on the day the census taker arrived.

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