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August 15, 2014

Refugees of Irish Famine to Get a Proper Burial

Refugees of Irish Famine to Get a Proper Burial
When the Irish Famine hit in the late 1840s, thousands upon thousands of starving immigrants made their way to N. America in what became known as Coffin Ships. Many died during the sea voyage and many more died once they reached the port of arrival. 

My Irish McGinnis ancestors arrived in Upper Canada (present day Ontario) in 1847 with a one year old child. I cannot begin to imagine what they endured to come to this new land. 

In New York so many Irish immigrants died while in quarantine that the city ran out of spaces to bury the bodies. Because of the lack of space, thousands of bodies were stacked anonymously, three and four deep, in trenches dug behind the hospital.

Now, more than 150 years later, the remains of 83 men, women and children, recovered from the quarantine’s hastily dug ditches, will be re-interred and given a proper burial.

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1 comment:

Dana said...

I can't imagine the hardships these people endured! I researched "coffin ships" last year. My 2x great grandmother (age 3) & 3x great grandmother (age 38) came to the United States from England in 1851. However, most of the other people on the ship were Irish. Under "died on voyage", there are a lot of numbers! I am wondering if this was a coffin ship. However, the numbers don't quite make sense so maybe they used this column for something else. Anyway, I was saddened to learn about these ships!