IGRS 80th Anniversary Archive

Last year was our 80th anniversary and we launched a story writing project to collect your stories of favourite Irish born ancestors.  Throughout the year, we heard tales from all over the world describing the colourful lives of men and women across the last 300 years.

Some sought new lives in new worlds, perhaps fleeing the Great Hunger or just seeking new adventures.  Some stayed in Ireland and worked the land.  Several became soldiers, fighting for causes foreign and domestic.  Some had interesting professions that allowed them to establish successful businesses abroad.  Women had stories to tell that were sometimes heart-breaking but often uplifting, with several becoming matriarchs of large extended families.  Some stories gave a very personal view of important world events, particularly those that shook the world in the first half of the 20th century.

We have taken these themes as our inspiration for chapters and have completed the publication of the archive with the updated links below.  Be sure to take a look at the stories in our “And Finally…” section that didn’t quite fit into these chapters or perhaps strictly adhere to the rules of submission but we felt were too good not to include.

Who knows, you may find a missing branch of your own family tree or be inspired to hunt further afield for missing ancestors?  Or perhaps these very personal stories will help you imagine what your ancestors’ lives might have been like day to day as they lived alongside these people as neighbours or fellow soldiers or colleagues?

If you think that some of the people in these stories might be connected to your own family history, then please get in touch with the Society via our Contact Form and be sure to mark your subject as “80th Archive Contact” and we will contact the author with your request for information.

Finally, a big thank you to IGRS Council member Ruth Mathewson who ran this project for the Society.


20th Century Lives

Ned Keogh (1898-1957) by Helen Byrne, Ireland  Irish Republican

Annie Molloy (1884-1953) by Claire Melvin, UK   Wife of a Russian oil magnate

Annie Kerr (1905-1942) by Claire Melvin, UK   Nun in WW2 Malta 

Patrick O’Donnell (1887-1973) by Marilyn Cropley, USA   Early 20th Century US emigrant

Mary Stack (1889-1987) by Kathleen Banks, USA   WW1 “GI” Bride

Dr Hugh Flack (1903-1975) by Angus Martin, Australia    Doctor in India and South Africa

William Robert Rangecroft (1910-1993) by Angus Martin, Australia   South African Shopkeeper


Interesting Professions

Cornelius J. Harrington (1802-1878) by Maureen Dwyer, USA   Ice–cream maker

James McGuire (1804-1874) by Wendy McGuire, USA   Umbrella maker

Eyre John Powell (c.1812-?) by Lorian Edwards, UK   Scottish policeman

Joseph Perry Price (1824-1874) by Kendrick Price Daggett, USA  Wheelwright and Actor

Delia (Teevan) Lewis (1860-1932) by Gail Gruetzman, USA   Successful milliner

William Henry Fitton (1780-1861) by Richard Marston Crabbe, Canada   Geologist and Doctor

Rev. Charles Gayer (1804-1848) by Anthea Mitchell, Australia   Church of Ireland Minister

Michael O’Sullivan (1838-1889) by Patricia Candler, UK   Tinsmith and Zulu War soldier

Daniel J Dwyer (1850-1943) by Richard F Kunz, USA   Master Mason and Montana Mayor

Luke William Walsh (1859-1909) by Kate Nelson Morgan, USA   Blacksmith

Moses A Boggan (1859-1950) by J P Marthia, USA   Ship’s Captain on the Great Lakes


Military Men

Dennis Manning (1798-1859) by Peter Manning, UK  Royal Navy Greenwich Pensioner

James Guerins (c.1859-1919) by Claire Bradley, Ireland  Victorian Irish soldier

Patrick (Paddy) Kelly (1883-1915) by Robert Frewen, Ireland  WW1 soldier 

(A word of warning, this story contains a photograph you might find upsetting)

John McHugh (1820-1889) by Susan Rock, USA   US Civil War soldier

Robert Bruton (1823-1865) by Jeanne Rollberg, USA   US Civil War soldier

Colonel Dominick O’Donnell (1867-1949) by Brendan J O’Donnell, USA   US Army captain


New World, New Lives

Thomas Sadler (c.1790-1857) by Warren Sadler, Canada   Blacksmith and early emigrant to Canada

Patrick Coffey (1794-1863) by John Coffey, Canada   Early emigrant to Canada

John Dorsey or Darcy (1828-1904) by Joseph Dorsey, USA  Texan pioneer and Civil War soldier

William McNaughton (1780-1857) by Louise Benson Griffin, USA   Settler in French Canada

Joseph Cochrane (1823-1875) by Wanda Hopkins, Australia   Fought in the Maori Wars

Mary F E Greene (Lady Stawell) (1830-1921) by Rosemary Coleby, UK   Governor’s wife

Jane Clement (1839-1918) by Barbara Holt, New Zealand   New Zealand matriarch

Terence Ahern (1845-1904) by Robert Frewen, Ireland   Former Cork butcher in Australia

Phillip O’Reilly (c.1856-1947) by Teresa O’Reilly, New Zealand   Not quite a centenarian


Women Surviving and Thriving

Jane (Lloyd) Bonynge (c.1812-1886) by Susan Strange, USA  A marriage promise broken

Elizabeth Little (1832-1898) by Beth Golden, USA   A letter sent across the years

Rose Switzer (1835-1920) by Jill Thomas, Australia  “Inheriting” a sister’s beau

Ann Campton (1790-1863) by Taylor Wright, USA   Pioneering in the American south

Abigail Lowe (1832-1896) by Diane Granger, Canada   A tangled matrimonial tale

Rachel Castles (1834-1914) by Ruth Mathewson, UK   From Wicklow to Leicester via Bengal

Rachel Mary Gilmore (1855-1930) by Alison Kilpatrick, Canada   The Irish wash lady

Elizabeth Scott (1872-1964) by Pattie Morgan, USA   Oregon bound

Annie Love (c. 1830’s-1897) by Vanessa Kiessling, Australia   Transportation to Tasmania


Tales of the Famine and Working the Irish land

Bartholomew Corry (1811-1865) by Anne Herdman Martin, UK   Poor Law Guardian

Samuel Henry Wood (1862-1897) by Alison Carter, UK   Romantic gamekeeper

James Eagan (1795-1880) by Thomas Eagan, USA   Farming through the Famine

Henry Hutton Maddock (1821-1905) by Hilary Jarvis, Canada   Isle of Man connections

John Barry (1824-1900) by James Barry, USA   From Cork to Pittsburgh

William Diver (1864-1943) by Aiden Hodson, Ireland    Farming in Co. Donegal


And Finally …!

This last group of stories don’t neatly fit into the themes above but we felt were worthy of inclusion for the following reasons;

Christopher Elliott (1809-1859) by Roz McCutcheon   This man’s story – the Seventh Son – was the original inspiration for the 80th Anniversary Archive project from one of our Vice-Presidents.

Christmas Weekes (1756-1828) by Julie Retallick, Australia   This man has not only the most wonderful moniker but his is also a tale of extraordinary philanthropism.  Incidentally Rose Switzer who features in the Women chapter is this man’s grand-daughter.

Dominick O’Kane (1866-1944) by Timothy Kane, USA   “Of Kittens and Biscuits”   This is the Project Editor’s pick as strictly speaking Dominick was not Irish-born but he was most definitely of Irish lineage.  And of course the feline related joke made us laugh!

The Red Letter that was Read by Andrew Galwey, UK   This is another one that didn’t fit the rules but made us laugh too and is our Chairman’s pick – you will never throw away misdirected mail ever again!


 ***(A word of warning, this story contains a photograph that you might find upsetting.)

All views, opinions and statements made are those of the individual writers and are not necessarily shared by the IGRS.


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