John Herson
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Irish emigrants and family history
A new approach
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The book opens by arguing that a family history approach can throw new light on important issues relating to Irish migration to Victorian Britain, notably about Irish family lives, the long-term fate of immigrants and their descendants, as well as the significance of Irish ethnicity, gender, identity, locality and the Irish diaspora.

The chapter reviews conceptual approaches to studying the history of families. Three research questions are discussed – identifying how families functioned in terms of family strategy and relationships, the specific impact of migration on families and how the family related to its wider social and economic context.

Stafford’s value as a case study location is outlined and the methodology and sources are discussed. The work uses collective family biography or ‘prosopography’. The database at the heart of the project is described and the varied sources are reviewed. Interviews and evidence from descendants have been combined with digital history and documentary sources to construct the genealogies of settled families, narratives of their history and an assessment of the factors that determined their fates.

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Divergent paths

Family histories of Irish emigrants in Britain, 1820–1920


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