Book Review: Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City
By Joseph Buggy
Genealogical Publishing Co. 2014. 165 pages.

This manual describes the resources available to the researcher looking for Irish ancestors in the five boroughs of New York City: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, and Staten Island. The time period is from the beginning of the 1800s to the early 1900s.

First chapters describe the history of, and contents of, the collections of city records, censuses, vital records, and what the author calls “underutilized records”:

  • Almshouse records: New York City provided assistance to the destitute and homeless at various almshouses located throughout the city; the Almshouse Collection begins with records in 1758.
  • Potter’s Field burials: also known as City Cemetery; records since 1869.
  • Public sector employment records: records of public sector employees, many of them Irish as a result of Tammany Society politics, from 1883 to 1968.
  • List of newspapers published for Irish Americans and Catholics in the 1800s.

There is a chapter on strategies for tracing the Irish in New York City, reviewing name spelling variations, Irish name formations, and emigration from and back to Ireland. There are chapters on where the Irish lived in New York City, sources for locating the places of origin, and a chapter citing almost five hundred articles in sixteen periodicals related to Irish research.

The most extensive set of information is about the Catholic church records in the boroughs. There is a lengthy list of parishes with brief descriptions and contact information, and a long list of cemeteries.

I have to say, the font size of the print in this book is pretty small, perhaps the smallest I’ve seen in an ordinary book. I could read it all well enough, as the contrast between the print and the page is good, but it did make for slow going.

Overall, I’d say this is a good book for researching the Irish in the New York City area.

Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City may be ordered from the publisher at as well as from Amazon at

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One Comment

I have a brick wall with my Bennett family in Brooklyn. Thanks for the tip, perhaps this book can give me a clue or two!


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