Pathfinders
Labouring families before the Famine
in Divergent paths
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Just over half Stafford’s Irish families began by depending on labouring or farm labouring and their numerical importance is given due weight over the next three chapters. This chapter looks at families who settled before the Famine and the detailed example is the Kearns family. They ultimately proved to be long-term transients even though they were present in Stafford from the 1820s to 1913. They were in poverty, never integrated and remained in a generally Irish milieu. There is, however, no evidence that they retained a conscious Irish identity. The Kearns family demonstrates how complex the history of Irish families could be and the need to avoid simplistic conclusions about family strategy, attitudes and identity.

Divergent paths

Family histories of Irish emigrants in Britain, 1820–1920

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