Irish Emigrants in North America: Consolidated Edition. Parts One to Ten

Today I’m reviewing a book called Irish Emigrants in North America: Consolidated Edition. Parts One to Ten by David Dobson. It’s published by Genealogical and they asked me to review this book, for which I received a free copy.

That said, this is very much my own independent opinion.

This was originally 10 shorter books, now collected together in one volume, with a consolidated index at the back. They were published over the past 20 years at intervals. The book is still separated into volumes with a short, very similar introduction to each section. This makes it confusing to flick through. Each volume is alphabetised by surname and gives a short reference to a person. Sometimes it gives a reference number as well as an abbreviation for a repository, but mostly just the latter. It’s quite tricky to find that abbreviation list for each volume and it would have been much better to consolidate that list at the start of the book for all 10 volumes. There is considerable overlap in the archives so it would have been easy to do, even if it was a duplication. What I presume is the Registry of Deeds in Dublin is referred to as the “Dublin Register of Deeds”.

There’s no doubt that David Dobson has compiled an immense name reference guide here. The promotional material claims that it has 10000 names and covers repositories in “the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies.” The dates covered span the late 17th century through to late 19th century.

Here’s a couple of typical examples.

Hardy, James, emigrated from Newry to Quebec on the Gratitude, arrived there on 8 June 1842 (QG).

QG stands for Quebec Gazette, series.

Butler, Tobias, in Montserrat in 1677-1678 (TNA)

TNA being the British National Archives at Kew

So you can see that neither of these references gives enough detail to use an individual archive’s catalogue to find the specific document, if you wanted to consult it in context. However, other entries do reference much better such as this one:

Collins, Julian, from Cork, an indentured servant aboard the New England, master William Bryan, bound from Cork to Boston, New England, in April 1728)

PRONI T3424.1

My honest review is I don’t know why this isn’t a database. It feels old-fashioned in book format, clunky to look up, and I doubt that many people would pull it off a shelf and check the index on a regular basis.

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