Immigrants at Ellis Island

We have all heard the family stories and myths handed down from generation to generation by our ancestors, and some that have been embellished along the way!!  As a professional genealogist, I constantly hear these stories from clients wishing to trace their ancestors and confirm these stories.

A good friend of mine, who is also a professional genealogist in New York – Patricia  Phelan – email: – recently published an article in the Irish Echo, the link is  which makes for a very interesting read!

One such story tells of man who believed that his Irish granny, who came to the US in 1912 aged 13 years, was immediately put on a boat back to Ireland because the uncle scheduled to meet her arrived a day late.  But this reverse commute would not have happened.  Instead the girl would have been released to her tardy guardian when he showed up.  It is also doubtful that as she was so young, and due to the Immigration Act of 1907 which required minors under 16 to be accompanied by parents, that she was sent back on her own!!  This same girl was supposedly hiding from the Black and Tans in Ireland as a child, however the Black and Tans were not recruited until 1919, seven years after this girl arrived in the US!! So Fact or Fiction??  You decide!

There are so many stories like this in all families so it is important to check out all the information contained in these little gems and confirm the timeline surrounding the circumstances.  Then you can decide whether your ancestor was actually in Ireland at the time those events occurred!  Perhaps granny or great granny kissed the blarney stone before she left Ireland??  Perhaps it was wishful thinking??  Either way, they are wonderful stories and well worth confirming or otherwise while carrying out your family research.

If you need any assistance in tracing your ancestors here in Ireland, please do contact us at Into The Past Genealogy Services at email: or check out our website at:

Happy hunting!

Anne-Marie Smith MAGI