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Ask a Genealogist: Irish arrivals in 1754 into Boston.

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I am looking for the passenger list of my Irish immigrant William Leahy in 1754.  He arrived in Boston, can you advise me?


Thank you for your query regarding your ancestor William Leahy. Passenger ship lists were not kept in that time period. Many people travelled on commercial ships that carried goods, and Boston was trading with various ports in Ireland. In 1754, Boston newspapers printed the arrival of the ship Draper from Belfast, carrying linen, and the arrival of Captain Montgomery from Cork, carrying butter. William Leahy shows up in the Boston Gazette among the list of letters in the post office on 10 July 1758.

City of Boston records sometimes listed Irish immigrants arriving in Boston in the 18th century. These were extracted and printed in New World Immigrants: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists and Associated Data from Periodical Literature by Michael Tepper. [Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980] But there were no entries for 1754, and William Leahy was not among those listed in other years either.

A ship named Batchelor or Bachelor does not show up in Boston newspaper records for 1754, although two vessels, the Snow Batchelor and the Sloop Batchelor, are listed in the port of Philadelphia. The Sloop Batchelor, captained by David Cox, plied between Halifax and Philadelphia. It very likely stopped in Boston on the way to and from Halifax. William Leahy may have travelled to Boston via Halifax.

Dublin parish registers are searchable online on the website, A search for William Leahy shows a 27 September 1728 baptism of a William Lehy, son of Cornelius and Margaret Lehy. Address Swift Roe. Sponsors were Edward Humes and Elizabeth Fling. St. Michan RC Church, Dublin. This would be about the right age for your ancestor, if he were a young man when he arrived in 1754. I have attached a copy of the baptism, which is located about 2/3 down on the left page.

I also note that there is a Henry Leahy who shows up in the records of the Charitable Irish Society in Boston on 14 December 1762. There is a baptism in Kings Chapel of a Johanna Leahy, daughter of Patrick and Esther Leahy, on 27 November 1767. These are databases on our website. So there are other Leahys in Boston in this time period.

Posted by David Lambert at 06/24/2013 11:38:23 PM | 

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