Crossing the Pond to Roots in Ireland

Eviction photos

I’m getting closer…

Below is an obituary from 1929 for the 99 year old (!) brother-in-law of my great-grandfather, Jeremiah Desmond.  It’s the first evidence I’ve  found that links a related ancestor to Ireland and why he came to America.

My favorite part of this obituary? The second paragraph which states:

“…The deceased was born in County Cork, Ireland in 1830. Like many of his countrymen who were driven out by landlords and the famine, Mr. Holland came to America in 1853 and settled in St. Lawrence County. On February 14, 1853 he married Johanna Desmond and went to live on a small farm in Lawrence….”

Scaled Image

Johanna, John Holland’s wife,  was my great-grandfather’s sister who passed away 19 years earlier. Johanna and John had 8 children, two of  whom preceded them in death and two of whom were Catholic priests. Most of them resided  in the sparsely populated hamlets and farmlands of upstate New York, just miles from the Canadian border.

Looks like this line will be a fun one to  trace.

Hopefully, it will  also provide some good leads on my Great-Grandfather Jeremiah Desmond’s  own journey to the shores of America during the period of the Great Potato Famine.


The obituary above appeared on  page 1 , “The Malone Farmer” newspaper, Malone, NY, on October 16, 1929.


 Copyright © 2013 Patricia Desmond Biallas



This entry was posted in Ireland, Obituaries. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Crossing the Pond to Roots in Ireland

  1. Mark BIALLAS says:

    Love the post, Patti.
    Can’t wait to see more!

  2. Yes, there are a number of good clues in this obituary!! Did you find it on one of the newspaper searches, or from Ancestry, or by some other method?? Congratulations, in any case.

    We still have not found our original emigrant from (probably) Ireland. He seems just to have appeared in Maryland in 1747.

    • Mariann, I was working on my ProGen assignment this week which was to create a Locality Guide. I chose St. Lawrence Co., in upstate NY, which is where my great-grandfather married, settled, and raised his family about 20 miles from the Canadian border. Haven’t done much research on the area so I thought this might prove useful.

      As in any genealogical endeavor, I of course got sidetracked once I started digging into the research opportunities there. That’s how I ended up on the website for Northern New York Historical Newspapers ( I started poking around, found the obituary for this family member, and was astounded to see its reference to the famine and eviction. Brought all I’ve read about that time period in Irish history very close to home!

      If you have family from that area it’s a wonderful source. I’ve used it in the past with success as well.

  3. Jana Last says:


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

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