John Herson
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Old soldiers and their families
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Military families were an important group of Irish emigrants but have been generally ignored by historians. The chapter begins by reviewing their significance. Many Irish regular soldiers were sent to the militia barracks in Stafford or settled there after being pensioned off. The majority of service families integrated into local society but a few died out in the town and others proved to be long-term transient.

John Carroll was an old soldier who became part of the Coleman family. Lambert Disney family and Trench Nugent were Anglo-Irish Protestants but Disney was unable to integrate and committed suicide. John Cronin married into the Moyers family and they became respectable Catholics whereas John Ryan and his Blundon family relatives were the victims of a military life and ensuing poverty.

The chapter suggests that the strength of individual and family characteristics outweighed the general legacy of service in the forces and that this explains the divergent paths taken by ex-service families.

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Divergent paths

Family histories of Irish emigrants in Britain, 1820–1920


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