I am back on Ancestry.com today, trying to find my mysterious and missing great grandmother. The one who doesn't exist before she begins to show up on the NYC census records. I'm still awaiting the package from the history society that contains all the baptismal certificates and maybe even the marriage certificate of my great-great-grandparents so that I can try go glean more information from them. I feel somewhat at a standstill on the family research, so I decided to take a different tack, a more historical line.
I want to start looking at how people emigrated, the literal route they took. Maybe if I knew how they arrived in NYC, I could backtrack from there looking at passenger lists, embarkation lists, arrivals in the port of NY. Ellis Island didn't start tracking immigrants until 1892, so prior to that, it's hard to know unless you can obtain passenger lists. So, if I lived in Tullamore, Co. Offaly, in the mid-1800s, how would I get from there to NYC?
It's close enough to Dublin, but for some reason, I vaguely remember Cork being a big departure point for emigrants. That said, even though my great-grandmother ended up in NYC, she could have come in through Canada, Philadelphia or even another entry point I haven't thought of.
As for record keeping, considering the fact that Irish Catholic births and deaths weren't even being recorded in Ireland, I'd be surprised if any lists existed of Irish Catholics who actually left the country. And since there was no tracking on the way in...did they just get off the boat, look at the address they had of one person who may have preceded them, and then just found their way there? Did someone meet my great grandmother at the dock and enfold her in a bear hug, carry her bag, and make her a cup of tea?
Questions with no answers.