The following is an announcement from the New England Historic Genealogical Society:
A significant new collection has been added to the online databases at NewEnglandAncestors.org, the website for the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot 1831-1920, previously offered only in book and CD form, is now available online to members of NEHGS.
Beginning in 1831 and over the course of the next eighty-five years, the nationally distributed Boston Pilot newspaper printed some 45,000 "Missing Friends" advertisements placed by friends and relatives. No one knows how many of these families found each other as a result of the ads, but these nineteenth-century notices continue to help families today find their ancestors.
The Missing Friends collection is an exceptional resource for anyone researching immigrant Irish families. In the following example of an advertisement published under "Information Wanted," on July 21, 1866, a number of family details are provided:
OF MICHAEL DOLAN and wife (maiden name Mary Grady), both natives of Boughane, parish of Ballantobber, county Mayo. They emigrated from Ireland about 23 years ago, and when last heard of he was talking to Thomas Horan, at the High Falls, State of New York; it is supposed he went to Wisconsin, or some other Western State, about eighteen years ago. Any information of his whereabouts will be thankfully received by his brother-in-law, James Grady, care of John McCann, Hyde Park Post-office, Luzerne county, Pennsylvania.
The flexibility of searching the Missing Friends database makes it particularly useful to genealogists and historians. Not only can a researcher look for information based upon surname and given name, but also place name. Cross-reference searching enables users to hone in on a place in Ireland or North America.
Unlike the "Database of Advertisements for Irish Immigrants Published in the Boston Pilot" placed online by Boston College earlier this year (http://infowanted.bc.edu), where details are selected from the advertisements, the NEHGS database provides the entire ad as originally published, and later republished in the popular multi-volume book series. In addition to family and location information, many of the listings provide poignant insights of family members in search of one another. This database adds an additional 100,000 names to the NEHGS online offerings.
The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in The Boston Pilot 1831-1920, edited by Ruth-Ann M. Harris and B. Emer O'Keeffe, was originally published by NEHGS as an eight-volume series beginning in 1989. A CD-ROM followed in 2002. By making the database available to researchers on the NEHGS website, www.NewEnglandAncestors.org, many more people will be able to access the valuable information contained in these advertisements. The database is available for NEHGS Research Members and above at www.newenglandancestors.org/research/database/MissingFriends_VOL1-8. This collection is also available to libraries and organizations with NEHGS institutional memberships.