Between 1846 and 1851, more than a million Irish people sailed to America. These were the famine emigrants. The world has not seen such an exodus before or since. In those five years the population of the United States grew by one-seventh. At the same time, the Irish Potato Famine claimed a million lives. The year 1996 marks the 150th anniversary of the famine and the first famine sailings. This book tells the story of the courage and determination of those who crossed the ocean in leaky, overcrowded sailing ships and forged new lives for themselves. Among them a small boy called Henry Ford and 26-year-old Patrick Kennedy, the great-grandfather of John F. Kennedy. The book traces the history of the five years of famine sailings, and includes numerous personal stories, such as that of the parish priest from County Wexford, who led 18 families across the Atlantic and from there, on up the Mississippi/Missouri to found Wexford, Iowa, where the emigrants' descendants still live today. Edward Laxton conducted five years of research in Ireland and among descendants in the United States. The book includes facsimile passenger lists, tickets, letters and other memorabilia.
It also features information for Irish-Americans who wish to trace their ancestry.show more