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Irish Immigrant Advertisements, 1831-1920

(Updated Databases) Permanent link

IrelandThis database, which was originally published on CD-ROM and later as a database on, has been completely re-indexed and now includes images of the original book pages. The database includes 86,000 names and 4,900 pages from the original eight volumes. 

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. These advertisements typically referred to the exact place of origin of the seeker and/or the sought. Many of the ads also describe the process and route of immigration, and even the name of the passenger ship. Many advertisements refer to women, for whom determining exact origin is even more difficult, due to the lack of naturalization records. So the Missing Friends advertisements help fill a great gap in nineteenth-century records for a mobile, impoverished, immigrant population. 

This valuable database comes to you through the generosity of NEHGS Councilor, Thomas R. Crowley.

Other Irish databases include: Aghadowey, Ireland: Session Book of Aghadowey, 1702-1725An Hibernian Atlas; or General Description of the Kingdom of Ireland; and Cork, Ireland: Index to the Marriage Licence Bonds of the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland.

If you have any questions about this, or any other database on the website, please contact us at

Search Irish Immigrant Advertisements, 1831-1920.


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