History question regarding Irish immigrants
Hello everybody. This question may be a bit of a leap and this may be the wrong place to ask it but is anybody familiar with the immigration patterns of the Irish that came to the Midwestern United States, particularly Nebraska and Iowa and at during what years? I am trying to get an idea of where exactly in Ireland my ancestors came from or at least a relative location. I know that a large portion of Irish came from Ulster and settled in the Southern United States but I haven't any Southern heritage so I know it's not that. Thank you for any information you can give me!
My mom' s (mostly Scottish) family is from the Midwest and lots of different people moved to the Midwest and around the Midwest for different reasons. The Irish and Scots/Irish in the South tend to be descended from immigrants who came here much earlier than in northern and midwest states, though. (Not always but in general) For example, I had a friend in college whose Scots-Irish ancestors came over from Ulster during colonial times, whereas my grandmother who was born in Indiana was a first generation Irish American--her father was from County Cork (a McCarthy, so no surprise there) and first immigrated to Canada after being harassed out of Ireland for being a young, male unemployed gaeilgeoir. He later moved to the US looking for work. There was a lot of movement of Irish immigrants during that time--jobs, crowding in immigrant communities in the big cities, anti-Irish sentiment in some urban areas, looking for potential spouses and other factors drove many recent Irish immigrants and first generation Irish Americans to move around a lot. Also, sadly, during this time a lot of Irish orphans were sent to North America by the British government, mostly to Canada where they were dumped in orphanages. Some of these people did come to the US looking for work, but there is often no record of where they came from originally in Ireland because the British government couldn't be bothered.
So unless your family kept a memory of where your Irish ancestors originally came from, it might be a little difficult. Researching surnames in your family tree will give you a general idea but sometimes that can be very off. The best route is to hire a genealogist to research this for you but that takes more money than most people can spare. However amateur genealogy sites sometimes an help you if you're up for doing your own sleuthing.
Your ancestors’ surnames might provide a better hint as to where in Ireland they came from. For example, if your surname is Maddox and you’re certain that that surname is of Irish origin rather than of Welsh origin, then it’s probable that your Maddox ancestors had the surname Mac Mhadoc and were originally from the southwestern part of Co. Wexford (which doesn’t guarantee that your emigrant ancestors still lived there before moving to North America).
Well my Irish ancestors come from my grandparents on my dad's mom's side as confusing as that sounds. Maddox comes from my dad's dad's side. I have looked that name up on the internet and it says it is of Welsh origin. Historically, has there been a lot of intermarrying between the Irish and the Welsh? Did they come from the same group of people before permanently splitting up? Thanks for you information guys. Appreciate it.
There were Welsh people who settled in that part of Co. Wexford in the centuries after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland. It reads as though you haven’t yet established whether your Maddox ancestors were of Welsh origin or of Irish origin. Do you have the Irish surnames of your paternal grandmother’s ancestors at hand?
We don't unfortunately. The family history on my father's side is not well documented. We know the family moved around quite a bit in the States, especially during WWII to the point where they were in Washington (the state) for some period of time and then later landed in Nebraska where they started a family car dealership but none of us are sure exactly why. I know that on my father's mother's side of the family, my great-grandmother's last name was Benedict. Is that Irish? My father tells me she was Irish and German.
There’s a 72-year window between when US Census records are recorded and when they’re publicly available, so the most recent census records currently available for searching are those from 1940. If you know something about your ancestors’ whereabouts in 1940 or before, then the census records might help.
To my knowledge, Benedict is not a surname of Irish origin. It could be of either German origin or of English origin (other origins are also possible), so it’s possible that a Benedict family settled in Ireland at some time in the past. The first names of your great-grandmother’s ancestors might provide a hint as to whether a German origin, an English origin, or another origin would be more likely.