Writings of Michael J. OBrien and your Irish Genealogy

OBrien worked diligently to prove that those Irish who came to America were Irish.

1) Irish came to America in substantial numbers before the American Revolutionary War, some came with the first attempts at settlement.
2) Irish served in the Revolutionary War: in the Continental Army, in  state and local militias, and special levies, making up 38% of the Army.
3) No distinction between the Irish and the Scotch-Irish–both were born in Ireland and many had ancestors also born in Ireland. They referred to themselves as Irish.
4) Religion and nationality are not synonymous. More than 10% of the total  Colonial population in America  were born in Ireland of Irish parents. These included both Catholic and Protestant.

Writing from 1919 through 1960, when he died at the age of 92, O’Brien had identified and documented thousands of Irish settlers, many with their places of origin in Ireland. Among his published works are:

Irish Pioneers in Maryland. [From Maryland, these Catholic pioneers migrated into New York State immediately following the Revolutionary War and into central Kentucky during early settlement times.
Pioneer Irish of New England (600 names, 1937). Reprint edition, Baltimore : Clearfield Company, 1998.
Irish at Bunker Hill (1968, published posthumously). New York: The Devin-Adair Company, 1968. This edition was edited by Catherine Sullivan.
In Old New York: The Irish Dead in Trinity and St Paul’s Churchyards (1928). Catholic Irish and Protestant Irish were buried in clusters.
Irish Settlers in America, 2 Vols. Articles that appeared in the Journal of the American Irish Historical Society1898-1941. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1979, reprint 1993. Other articles appeared in miscellaneous periodicals–watch footnotes for these.

Use these volumes for the many names and origins they disclose–whether you think your ancestors were Irish or not. The Irish are a mixed race and the surnames they carry have been modified over time by custom and usage as well as by law. Remember, you won’t know  for sure, unless you look!

Your Scots-Irish genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS I’m speaking on the Irish and how to trace them at this year’s KIN DIG sponsored by the Antelope Valley Genealogical Society in Lancaster CA. The event will be at the Lancaster Presbyterian Church from 8 am to 4 pm, Saturday 2 November 2019.



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