The inherent sadness of Missing Friends

I’m currently beavering away on Trove looking for all Missing Friends notices which mention County Clare. These advertisements are revealing in a host of unexpected ways.

Some are frustratingly ambiguous (left Ireland) but others can be very specific, listing a ship or a townland.

As the decades roll towards the end of the 19th century they become quite tragic when you see advertising for parents; mothers trying to trace children; or cousins seeking kin. While a few may have emigrated only recently it’s especially moving to read of ones which indicate the person left decades before yet no one knows where they are. Had they died? Did they have no one to write? Were they ashamed because life hadn’t turned out how they expected? Did they simply forget the families they left in Ireland as a way of preserving themselves from the heartache of separation? Had they re-emigrated to another country as we see in some of these examples?.

What a treasure we have in Trove which enables us to pursue a research interest which would otherwise be nigh impossible. It helps us to burrow down into the movement and lives of many people and draw the information together.

Here is just one example of a Missing Friends’ notice in Australia’s Freeman’s Journal copied from ads in the Dublin Freeman.  Missing Persons 18921892 ‘MISSING FRIENDS.’, Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1932), 16 July, p. 19. , viewed 17 May 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111326867

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