Irish migrants talk for Family History Society

MEMBERS of the Coleraine Branch of the Northern Ireland Family History Society welcomed Dr Brian K Lambkin, Director of Centre for Migration Studies, Ulster American Folk Park who gave an insight into the subject of ‘Irish Migration Ships’.

Dr Lambkin spoke of the migrant, their story and the empathy with the migrant, utilizing the idiom of “walk a mile in my shoes” to help us understand what these people endured.

To illustrate this members looked at the story of Thomas Mellon born February 3, 1813 in Cappagh, County Tyrone who migrated as a five year old boy, journeying outward from the port of Derry to St John’s, New Brunswick taking 12 weeks to arrive in Baltimore, at Fell’s Point, on 1st October 1818.

His great-grandfather Archibald Mellon had emigrated previously in 1816. The childhood home of Thomas Mellon can be viewed at the Ulster American Folk Park. Mellon died on his 95th birthday, February 3, 1908, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If you are interested in the stories of some others of the Irish emigrants, an exhibition entitled “Titanic: Window on Emigration”, runs from Tuesday 28 February to Sunday 26 January 2014, from 10am to 4pm, at the Ulster American Folk Park.

Sincere thanks to Dr Lambkin for painting a truly vivid picture of the conditions which these people endured to make a better life for their families.

* The next meeting of the Society will be held in Coleraine Library on Tuesday, March 27 at 8pm.

There will be a talk given by Robert Corbett, Records Manager for Belfast City Council, on the subject of “Belfast City Hall and its archive”.

The meeting will last approximately 90 minutes and light refreshments will be served.