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19th Century Emigration to the North Americas


Image of Donegall Quay c.1860.
According to the eminent historian David Fitzpatrick, Ireland during the nineteenth century 'was a land which most people wanted to leave'.
But why? Where did they go? And what did they find when they got there?  The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has joined forces with the Belfast Telegraph to answer those questions and many others.
Because of the size of the subject, we have limited the exhibition to emigration to America and Canada in the nineteenth century. While this web site is not meant to be a definitive history, it should give readers an insight into life at the time and the problems faced by the emigrants.
Using letters, diary extracts and illustrations as source material, our exhibition will trace the steps of the emigrants, from their decision to leave right through to their arrival in 'the promised land'.
Between 1800 and 1900, almost 8 million people bade farewell to their Irish home in search of new lives in a new world.  Why?  Enter our online exhibition and discover for yourself.