Catholic names 'hindered sons of Famine refugees.'

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Researchers in America have done a study tracking Irish famine refugees and their sons in the 19th century. The study analyzed the men's occupations and literacy to assess how the two generations fared. They compared them with data from German and British immigrants. They found the Irish tended to succeed less well than those other ethnicities. "In particular we find that having a more Catholic-sounding surname and being born in Ireland were associated with less upward mobility," the authors remarked.

Interesting reminder of the tough conditions encountered by Irish famine emigrants in America. Catholic surname ‘hindered sons of Famine refugees'
 


Dame_Enda

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There was a great deal of anti Catholicism in the 19th century United States and for a while in the 20th century too. The 1928 election was quite sectarian and fringe conspiracy theories about how Al Smith (the Democrat) would give the Pope his own wing in the White House, or move the Vatican to the U.S., were widely reported.

The Vaticans ambivalence about the U.S. Civil War didnt help matters, and caused diplomatic relations to be cut off.
 

Old Mr Grouser

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.... The study analyzed the men's occupations and literacy to assess how the two generations fared. They compared them with data from German and British immigrants ....
I have read that in the days of manual record-keeping it was pretty general rule, and it was sensible, that there were not to be two men with the same surname on the same payroll.

That would have discriminated against the Murphys and the O'Sullivans; though also against the Lewises and the Evanses, as well as the Campbells and the Stewarts.

A lot of people would have solved the problem by adopting a new surname which might not have been an Irish one.
 

Ardillaun

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Is this the original article? Let’s skip the paywall.

The Economic Assimilation of Irish Famine Migrants to the United States William J. Collins and Ariell Zimran
February 2019

The repeated failure of Ireland's potato crop in the late 1840s led to a major famine and sparked a surge in migration to the US. We build a new dataset of Irish immigrants and their sons by linking males from 1850 to 1880 US census records. For comparison, we also link German and British immigrants, their sons, and males from US native-headed households. We document a decline in the observable human capital of famine-era Irish migrants compared to pre-famine Irish migrants and to other groups in the 1850 census, as well as worse labor market outcomes. The disparity in labor market outcomes persists into the next generation when immigrants’ and natives’ sons are compared in 1880. Nonetheless, we find strong evidence of intergenerational convergence in that famine-era Irish sons experienced a much smaller gap in occupational status in 1880 than their fathers did in 1850. The disparities are even smaller when the Irish children are compared to those from observationally similar native white households. A descriptive analysis of mobility for the children of the famine Irish indicates that having a more Catholic surname and being born in Ireland were associated with less upward mobility. Our results contribute to literatures on immigrant assimilation, refugee migration, and the Age of Mass Migration.
 

blinding

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This can hardly be a surprise to anyone when it is very well know that WASPs ( white anglo saxon protestants ) pretty much ran America in those days . They are pretty much still running it but not as much as before .

Tis hardly news to anyone with their eyes and ears open !

I wonder how much influence German protestants had . There were a good few of them knocking about as well.
 

silverharp

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did the Irish tend to take less advantage of all the basically free land available to become proper farmers?
 

parentheses

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did the Irish tend to take less advantage of all the basically free land available to become proper farmers?
AFAIK the Irish had a tendency to stay in the cities. Although my father used to tell of some relatives who headed to Illinois and got land and did quite well for themselves.
 

Barroso

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did the Irish tend to take less advantage of all the basically free land available to become proper farmers?
They didn't tend to have the capital to set up a farm, and as a result they remained urban & industrial to a greater degree than immigrants from N Europe.
 

parentheses

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It has to be said, ssome Irish emigrants ranged very far into the wild interior of America.

IIRC some of the names on the ill fated Donner expedition in the 1840s were Irish.
 

Ardillaun

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did the Irish tend to take less advantage of all the basically free land available to become proper farmers?
I guess farming had acquired a fairly bad rap among Irish emigrants. Weren’t we were also behind the Brits and Germans in our agricultural techniques and equipment? Anyway, staying urban turned out to be the better option.

Earlier Irish emigrants had taken to the land and their descendants did well:

Colonial America's richest man invested in Cecil

In this case, it has to be admitted that Mr. Carroll’s slaves were doing a fair bit of the work. I find it curious that a cousin of Carroll who was a Jesuit missionary also owned slaves:


A half century before, in the courts of the neighboring Upper South state of Maryland, Charles Mahoney successfully challenged the legality of his enslavement. Mahoney brought suit in 1791 against Father John Ashton, an influential Catholic Procurator General, Jesuit missionary, head of the White Marsh Mission, and slave owner. Mahoney received a favorable ruling in Maryland’s Court of Appeals in May of 1799. Mahoney’s counsel had successfully argued that he be manumitted on the grounds that he was a descendant of a freewoman, Ann Joice, who had been unlawfully enslaved. (Joice’s descendants had long asserted their freedom, and in 1770 her grandsons, the brothers Jack Wood and Jack Crane, took an axe to the neck to the man who claimed to be their overseer.)

The 1799 verdict in Mahoney v. Ashton not only freed Charles Mahoney, but also all known descendants of Ann Joice. Her descendants were owned not only by Ashton, but also by several other Maryland planters.

One such person in possession of Mahoney’s relatives was Ashton’s cousin, Charles Carroll of Carollton (1737-1832), a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
You‘d think the missionary line of work would kind of clash with owning slaves, like.

 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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Is this the original article? Let’s skip the paywall.
Thank you, Ardillaun. I had some suspicion that Sunday Times piece was 440 words of space-filler, held over for just such a column gap.

Apart from what — especially about prejudice — we know only too well, what does it add? —
The study analysed the men’s occupations and literacy to assess how the two generations fared. For comparison, they constructed similar data sets for German and British immigrants, and for American-born men. On average, the sons of Famine-era Irish immigrants fared less well than these other groups.
“Inauspicious early life conditions, an environment rife with anti-Irish sentiment, and a continuing influx of new immigrants may have hindered Irishchildren’s advancement,” the researchers said.
The study assessed whether certain factors were linked with the second generation’s prospects, including their fathers’ “human capital” — defined as education and skills — and whether they lived in an Irish enclave or had a Catholic-sounding surname.
The Famine immigrant came from the least-advantaged parts of Ireland. Many were Irish-speakers, and hardly competent in anything more than basic English. They entered at the lowest level of the employment hierarchy (the women tended to do better, if they could secure jobs as household servants). They gained skills, but 'education' came more expensive.

I'm somewhat shocked by the basic historical and sociological ignorance skimmed by that newspaper item:
Ariell Zimran, one of the study’s authors, explained that there was strong prejudice against Catholics at this time, with many Americans fearing that Catholicism was incompatible with their country’s democracy, because Catholics’ loyalty would be to their church.
Zimran added that, between the 1830s and 1850s, Irish emigrants became “increasingly poor, Catholic and Irish-speaking”, and so seemed “more different from the native population”. By 1850 there were one million Irish-born people in America.
Hey, Mr Zimran: allow me to introduce you to History 101. Stick with it, and you may learn why the immigration happened, why the type and social class of immigrants changed, why there was a rise in nativism, such as the 'Know-nothings'.

I've argued on previous threads that an appreciation of Noel Ignatiev's arguments is a fair way to grasp what was happening. The new Irish immigrants of the 1840s had to displace black labour at the bottom of the social pyramid in the northern States. They did so, quite successfully, through cohesion, through their churches, and through union organisation.

That Sunday Times effort concludes by recognising just that. The second generation of Irish-Americans:
“greatly narrowed the gap in occupational status relative to natives in comparison to their fathers’ starting point”, but did not close it entirely, said the study. [...]
“Despite the desperate conditions in which many Famine-era migrants arrived, and their relatively low levels of human capital, their children showed strong evidence of ‘assimilation and contribution’ in the labour market,” said the researchers.
You betcha.
 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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I guess farming had acquired a fairly bad rap among Irish emigrants. Weren’t we were also behind the Brits and Germans in our agricultural techniques and equipment? Anyway, staying urban turned out to be the better option.
Precisely.

'Go west, young man!' but such a move needed capital, the investment to acquire the implements, to transport himself (and possibly his family), to survive a first winter in a sod-shelter, to buy the stock or seed.

Frederick Jackson Turner in his 1890s classic, The Frontier in American History, suggested three eras of frontier development: the pioneer, the consolidator, and finally the capitalist entrepreneur. So, by the 1840s we are moving into that second phase. Turner quotes at some length Peck's New Guide to the West (published, indicatively, in Boston and 1837). His quotation starts:
First comes the pioneer, who depends for the subsistence of his family chiefly upon the natural growth of vegetation, called the "range," and the proceeds of hunting. His implements of agriculture are rude, chiefly of his own make, and his efforts directed mainly to a crop of corn and a "truck patch." The last is a rude garden for growing cabbage, beans, corn for roasting ears, cucumbers, and potatoes. A log cabin, and, occasionally, a stable and corn-crib, and a field of a dozen acres, the timber girdled or "deadened," and fenced, are enough for his occupancy.
The alternative for the cash-strapped refugee from the Famine was a menial job acquired though the priest or his fellows of the diaspora.
Earlier Irish emigrants had taken to the land and their descendants did well ...
Indeed they did. Were they not the Scots-Irish from Ulster, rather than the generation of the Famine?
 

McTell

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When I was first in the US way back, I bumped into our "Catholic Colonization Society"



Seems we colonized small corners of the mid-west, but only after the 7th Cav had driven out them pesky Lakota injuns a decade before.

Small parts of the US were anti-catholic, but most of it was still very empty.

Sheridan led the war against the lakotas... and most of us can derive it from O Sioradain, and so likely a "catholic name" more often than not?



 

Barroso

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I've argued on previous threads that an appreciation of Noel Ignatiev's arguments is a fair way to grasp what was happening. The new Irish immigrants of the 1840s had to displace black labour at the bottom of the social pyramid in the northern States. They did so, quite successfully, through cohesion, through their churches, and through union organisation.
And unless I am badly mistaken, this is very much the model that was used to take over their native land - politically - in the 19th century (unions excepted). And having done so, in the 20th century, they/we threw had no further need for the church, although this didn't become clear until the 1960s. It was essentially a political tool in the guise of a spiritual organisation. The fact that it had enormously strong ties to Europe allowed it to hide this fact from its followers, but not so much from our then overlords.

Regarding displacing the blacks, it is a source of great disappointment to me that every other group who has immigrated into the US has climbed the ladder (on the backs of the latest incomers) the blacks have not had the same degree of success. Then again, even the famine era Irish catholics arriving in the US would have had experience organising - this is the generation that would have grown up under the mantle of the Repeal movement and O'Connell's monster meetings, or their children, and they would have brought these organisational skills with them to the new world. The other point being that they arrived in large numbers prior to the abolition of slavery, and in any case numbers of blacks in the NE of the US were very low at the time - in the region of 1-2% of the population. The Irish arriving would have swamped them well before the 1850s were out. It wasn't until the early 1900s that large numbers of blacks came out of the south to look for work in the NE and Mid West, when they did so in vast numbers. But by that stage, the Irish catholics controlled several key cities and states in the NE and MW, just as they had come to do at home in Ireland. Although there were still huge numbers of poor Irish catholics in the US, they had moved far beyond the miserable poverty of their initial stage, while the new black migration was really only starting.
 

omgsquared

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Was there no direct provision then or a system that provided medical services , education and sanctuary scholarships for them? Shame I guess they had to work,
 

Freemind

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When I was first in the US way back, I bumped into our "Catholic Colonization Society"



Seems we colonized small corners of the mid-west, but only after the 7th Cav had driven out them pesky Lakota injuns a decade before.

Small parts of the US were anti-catholic, but most of it was still very empty.

Sheridan led the war against the lakotas... and most of us can derive it from O Sioradain, and so likely a "catholic name" more often than not?



Just goes to show how the Gaelic language kept the Irish from expressing their feelings. Time we were rid of it.
 

McTell

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Just goes to show how the Gaelic language kept the Irish from expressing their feelings. Time we were rid of it.
The whole oddball story of minnesota cuts into our self image as "anti colonialists".

But america has been a colonial story from 1608 to now, and it was our main escape hatch. The indians were godless heathens and that was that.
 

BACKTOBASICS

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It has to be said, ssome Irish emigrants ranged very far into the wild interior of America.

IIRC some of the names on the ill fated Donner expedition in the 1840s were Irish.
Many in the ill-fated 7th Cavalry of Custers Last Stand at the Little Big Horn, (June 1876) had Irish names. They were usually selected small in stature and light so as to ride their horses over a long distance - their names, weights, heights and Irish counties of origin can be seen from the archives.
Newfoundland has a mixture of Irish and English names and you can still hear the distinct South Eastern Irish accent and the English accents still spoken after over 200 years since leaving England and Ireland. Many left on Irish owned fishing vessels (Sweetman's, Waterford) to hunt for the seals off Newfoundland. Others fled there from persecution after the Irish Rebellion of 1798 in Wexford. Some farmers I met who had never being outside Newfoundland spoke Irish very well!
 
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