The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot, Volume IV: 1857-1860edited by Ruth-Ann Harris and B. Emer O'Keefe. Published by New England Historic Genealogical Society, order from NEHGS Sales, 160 N. Washington St., Boston MA 02114-2120. Tel. 617/536-7307, Fax 617/536-7307. 1995. xxxiv, 783 pp. Hardback. $45 plus $3.50 p&h per volume. VISA and M/C accepted. 10% discount to members of NEHGS.
The "Missing Friends" or "Information Wanted" column was part of an essential communication network for newly arrived immigrants seeking people who had come to North America before them. This service was an important feature in the Boston Pilot newspaper for over a century where literally thousands of ads were placed in the hope of finding family and friends.
A typical ad will list the names of relatives, where they are from in Ireland and their last know location. A sample would be:
"OF JOHN, Bridget, Catharine, and Ellen CARROLL, natives of Ballycarr, parish Trugh [co. Clare]; when last heard from, 3 years ago, they were in Richmond, McHenry Co. Illinois. Any information will be thankfully received by their cousin, Patrick Fitzgerald, care of James Quinlan, Underhill, Vermont" (p.589).There are indexes to persons and to places. This allows you also to find other people who may have migrated from your ancestral Irish community, or to find where the Irish in your US locality came from.
The 34-page introduction to this volume provides an excellent description of Vere Foster's program to help capable single females emigrate to North America. The purpose was to help them get established so that they would work and send money back to Ireland to help other family members to emigrate. The introduction contains many sample application and success letters.
Other volumes currently available: Vol. 1: 1831-1850; Vol. 2: 1851-1853; Vol. 3: 1854-1856.
Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.3 no.3, 1996