In a previous post on the site (see here) we looked at advertisements placed in the New York Irish American Weekly newspaper seeking information about East Cork immigrants. In an era where many people were illiterate, and communication often difficult, it was easy for families and friends to lose touch with one another. One way Irish emigrants tried to find loved ones was through placing ‘Information Wanted’ advertisements in Irish immigrant newspapers in the hope that the person they sought might hear of it. In this post, we have compiled the significant number of Information Wanted ads from the Boston Pilot, looking specifically at people from Midleton.
The Midleton advertisements range in date from 1841 to 1911, and are organised chronologically. Many are extremely poignant, as brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers sought to find each other, often after many decades apart. Here we discover Midleton people who had tried to make new lives, like James McSwiney who became a farmer in California, or Daniel Sullivan, who likely followed gold to New South Wales. John Buckley, who lived on Midleton’s Main Street, hoped to find his brother in New Jersey, while James Dexter was wondering why his brother had never returned to Boston following a visit to their mother on Chapel Street four years previously. The influence of the Pilot was far reaching– one of the most poignant advertisements sees Midleton’s Thomas Denehy, then living in Wollongong in Australia, seek to make contact with his brothers and sister who had emigrated to America 50 years before. Why not take a look through the ads (arranged chronologically) and see if you recognise any of the family names.
How the ‘Information Wanted’ advertisement for Jeremiah Hegarty, Midleton, appears in the New York Irish American Weekly (New York Irish American Weekly)
6th November 1841
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN COTTER, a native of Middletown, county Cork, Ireland. When last heard from he was in the employ of Charles Stark, Grocer, Charleston, South Carolina. His brother Edmund, who lives in Rockbottom, Ms., is anxious to hear from him. Should this meet his eye, he is requested to write immediately. Catholic Miscellany please copy.
5th November 1842
INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMEW KEEFE, of the Parish of Carrictouhal, co. Cork, when last heard from was in Newport, R.I. His wife’s maiden name is Hennessy, a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They had one child when leaving home named Donnell. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by Jeremiah Hennessy, addressed to 249 Ann st. Boston, Ms.
5th October 1844
INFORMATION WANTED OF BARTHOLOMY WALSH, a native of Middleton, Co. Cork, Ireland- when last heard from, was in Norfolk, Va.; any information respecting him would be thankfully received by his niece Ellen Sheehan, (alias) Mrs. Cody, Hartford, Ct.
25th January 1845
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MARA, a native of parish of Middleton, co Cork. He left Boston on the 11th day of June last, and is about 27 years of age. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his sister, Mary Mara, care of Robert Garnett, 13 North Square, Boston, Ms.
17th May 1845
INFORMATION WANTED OF TIMOTHY LEAHY, formerly of Kilmountain, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who came to this country about 8 years ago. When last hear from he was in Louisville, Ky, two years ago. Any information in relation to him will be thankfully received by his brother, Maurice Leahy, addressed to the care of Michael Leahy, No. 17 Hamilton street, Boston, Ms, or at this office.
6th February 1847
INFORMATION WANTED OF PHILIP CARRAUS, a native of Ballinthontis, parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated in 1844, and landed in New York, and is now supposed to be in Middleton, Ct. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by Richard Shea, care of Mr. O’Hern, West Stockbridge, Berkshire Co., Ms.
18th September 1847
INFORMATION WANTED OF ABIGAIL FITZGERALD, who was married to a man by the name of Simon Welsh. She is a native of Middletown, co. Cork. They are supposed to be in Albany or Troy. Her brother, Patrick, is anxious to hear from her. Address him, Randolph, Ms.
6th November 1847
INFORMATION WANTED OF CATHERINE HARTNET, from Middleton, co’y Cork, who formerly lived as cook with Mrs. James Murphy in Middleton, and who left Liverpool in April, 1847, for New York, will write to Ellen Cannovan, care of Rufus Perkins, No. 51 Summer street, Boston, where she is to be found, she will get intelligence much to her advantage.
10th March 1849
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL COTTER, a native of Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about 8 or 9 years ago, – when last heard from he was in Montreal, L.C. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Edmond Cotter, care of Mr. Benjamin Dayton, corner of Leveret and Brighton streets, Boston, Ms.
15th September 1849
INFORMATION WANTED OF DAVID AHERN, who emigrated to this country about 7 year ago and landed in Quebec. He is a native of Middleton, co. Cork. When last heard of was in Port Trent, District of Victoria, Upper Canada. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother, Mr. John Ahern, Hyde Park, Lackawana Iron Works, Luzerne County, Pa.
4th July 1851
INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. LANE and Family having emigrated from Middleton, co. Cork, to the United States, some time since, – a friend in Charleston, South Carolina, wishes to hear from them. Should this meet their eye, they will please address J.B., Charleston, S.C.
16th August 1851
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN DALY, from parish of Middleton, co. Cork, who emigrated to this country 13 or 14 years ago, – was in New York when last heard from. Also, his daughter, HONORA DALY, who landed in Quebec 4 years ago last April. Also, PATRICK DALY, Sadler, who was in Quebec, when last heard of. Any information of them will be thankfully received by his son, JOHN DALY, care of Edmond Ryan, Montpelier, Vermont.
23rd August 1851
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL MCNAMARA of Middletown, co. Cork, who got married to Catherine Doyle, at Ireland Depot, Ms, in June, 1848. His brother-in-law, PIERCE DOYLE, wants to hear from them, and will thankfully receive any information directed to Indianapolis, Ia.
24th August 1850
INFORMATION WANTED OF SAMUEL WALSH, (gardener), and Abigail Walsh, otherwise Fitzgerald (his wife), natives of Middletown, co Cork, who left Ireland in 1831; when last heard from they were in Albany, N.Y., about 11 years ago, and supposed to be at present in Virginia. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by her brothers, James and Patrick Fitzgerald, Randolph, Ms.
2nd October 1852
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL & MARY GOLDEN, from parish Middleton, who sailed from Cove in July, 1847- landed in New York. When last heard from were in Quayekey N.Y. He is a tailor by trade. Any information respecting them will be thankfully received by his brother, DANIEL GOLDEN, Baker, – or by BARTHOLOMEW TAYLOR, No. 87 Ann street, Boston, Ms.
2nd December 1854
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN CRONIN, of Middleton, co Cork, who left home 2 yrs ago and was year since in Jago, near Buffalo, NY. Information will be received by his wife Honora, care of A A Cody, Middletown Conn.
6th October 1855
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL FITZGIBBON, of Middletown, co Cork, who landed in New York in 1850; when last heard from was in Rockett, Worcester co, NY. Please address his sisters Margaret and Ellen, care of John White, 58 Liverpool st, East Boston, Mass.
13th October 1855
INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK & MARTIN BARRY, of Middleton, co’y Cork, who were last heard of in Corning Steuben co, NY, and are supposed to be in Michigan. Information received by their brother John, Floras Depot, Dinwiddy co, Va.
24th November 1855
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN, Mary and Bridget MOORE, of parish Middleton, co’y Cork; when last heard from John was in Albany 7 years ago. His father is anxious to hear of him or his sisters. Please address John Moore, care of Mr P Doyle, Arcade, Toronto, CW.
5th January 1856
INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET AHEARN, of parish Middleton, Cork, who came to this country about 6 months ago, and landed in New York city, where she was last heard from. Information received by her sister Ellen, care of Miss. Eliza Ahearn, 23 Joy st, Boston, Mass.
16th February 1856
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN and JOSEPH SCANLIN, native of Midletown, Co Cork, when last heard of John was some four years ago, was in Pittsburg. Information received by their sister Mary; address, care of Mathew Lians, No 54 Light St, Baltimore.
8th March 1856
INFORMATION WANTED OF MARY FAILY, (then her maiden name) of parish Middleton, co Cork, who when last heard of, 3 years ago, was in Catherine Slip, No 27 New Market, N York city. Information received by her brother William, Galena, Ill.
28th June 1856
INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLEN and JOHANA SHEA, of Middletown, who sailed from Cork 4 years ago last September; when last heard from , about 2 years since, were in Columbus, Ohio. Johana is married to John Hinchy, of the county Clare, who was last heard of in Toledo, O. Information received by their brother Michael, Little Valley, Catteraugus county, NY.
18th October 1856
INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. OLIVER, (maiden name Mary Fitzgerald,) a native of Middleton, who came to this country in 1836; when last heard from was in Dark county, Indiana. Information received by her sister, Bridget Burns, Zanesville, Ohio.
3rd April 1858
INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIIS O’BRINE, painter by trade, formerly of Middleton; when last heard from he was living in Sea Street, Boston. Information received by his sister, Mrs Elizabeth O’Sullivan, Jackson, Miss.
23rd October 1858
INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES FITZGIBBON, native of parish of Middletown, who landed in Boston in 1854, and when last heard from was in Missouri, in June, 1856. Any person knowing his whereabouts would confer a great favor by addressing his sister Catherine, Roxbury, Mass.
11th December 1858
INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK KEEFFE, from Middleton, who came to this country 3 or 4 years ago. Information will be thankfully received by his brother Owen, Woodberry, Baltimore county, Maryland.
2nd April 1859
INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS O’KEEFE, a native of parish Middleton, who went to England about 13 years ago, came to America shortly after, and was last heard of in Cincinnati, Ohio, in Seventh street. Should he or any one acquainted with him see this, he will hear of something to his advantage by addressing his brother John’s wife, (maiden name Ann Fitzgerald) or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois.
28th May 1859
FIVE DOLLARS REWARD. INFORMATION WANTED OF DENNIS O’KEEFE, of Middleton, parish of Middleton, county Cork, who went to England 11 years ago and came to America a short time after; when last heard of he was in Seventh street, Cincinnati, Ohio. There has been a certain amount of money willed to him by his uncle. The above reward will be paid for any information of him, dead or living. All particulars can be learned by addressing Mrs. Ann Foy, or Thomas McDonough, Waukegan, Lake county, Illinois. [Advertisement was again repeated on 20th August 1859]
10th March 1860
INFORMATION WANTED OF DENIS BUCKLEY, who came to this country in April, 1857, and, when last heard from, was living in New Jersey. His brother, John, who lives in Main Street, Middletown, county Cork, Ireland, is anxious to hear of him, care of his cousin, Denis Conway, Middleton, Mass.
22nd September 1860
INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS FITZGERALD, of parish Middleton, who left Nashville, in October, 1858, for Cincinnati. Please address Helen Fitzgerald Nashville, Tenn.
13th July 1861
INFORMATION WANTED OF JEREMIAH CASHMAN, who left the parish of Middleton in 1854, and is supposed to have gone to Chicago or Kentucky. His mother and friends are anxious to hear from him at 270 North Eutau street, Baltimore, Maryland.
13th December 1862
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN WALSH, a blacksmith by trade, native of the parish of Lisgoold, Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from in February last, had landed in Boston, and began working at his trade. His age is about 20 years. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his sister Eliza Walsh, No 3 Clark st, Newport, RI.
13th October 1866
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MULLINS, of Middleton, county Cork, who sailed from Liverpool for this country in 1859. He is supposed to be in some of the Western States. Any information concerning him will be thankfully received by his brother, Jeremiah Mullins, Burlington, Vermont.
13th July 1867
INFORMATION WANTED OF GARRET BARRY, (butcher) a native of the parish of Lisgool, county Cork, Ireland, who left Middleton, county Cork, for this country in the year 1844 or ’45, and has not been heard from since. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, John Barry, No 6 Lawrence street court, Charlestown, Mass.
22nd February 1868
INFORMATION WANTED OF DANIEL SULLIVAN, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Ireland about 15 years ago and came to Boston. he left Boston about eleven years ago, and went to New South Wales; when last heard from, about seven years ago, he was in Munderlow Bridge, New South Wales. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his father, Daniel Sullivan, No. 42 Billerica street, Bost, Mass. New South Wales papers please copy.
24th October 1868
INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK DEXTER, a native of Chapel Road, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland. He went home from Boston about four years ago to see his mother, and left there to come back to Boston. Any information of him will be thankfully received by his brother, James Dexter, 128 Albany street, Boston, Mass.
5th February 1870
INFORMATION WANTED OF JAMES McSWINEY, a native of Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; when last heard of was in San Francisco, Cal; he wrote to his sister Jane in September, 1859; said he had a farm of one hundred acres in Penola Valley, Contra Costa country, Cal. He is about 28 years of age, and has been to sea some time after leaving Middleton. Any information of him, dead or alive, will be thankfully received by his sisters, Jane or Bessie McSwiney, Main street, Middleton, county Cork, Ireland; or by John Mahoney, Co. G, 3d Regiment U.S. Cavalry, Fort Union, New Mexico. California papers please copy.
26th February 1870
INFORMATION WANTED OF EDMOND O’LOUGHLIN, formerly of Middleton, county Cork, now living in Boston, will oblige a cousin by sending his present address to C.R., Post-office, Montreal, Canada.
28th May 1870
INFORMATION WANTED OF MARGARET SCANLAN, a native of parish of Middleton, county Cork, who married a man by the name of Michael Hennisy, about 20 years ago; when last heard from, about 10 years ago, she was in Springfield, Mass. Information will be received be her sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Stark, Brown county, Minn.
2nd July 1870
INFORMATION WANTED OF FANNY CALLAHEN, from Middleton, county Cork, who came to this country about 10 years ago, she got married since, but don’t know her husband’s name; when last heard from was in West Constant, outside of Boston. Information of her will be received by her brother, John Callahen, Onota, Grand Island, Lake Superior, Mich.
16th July 1870
INFORMATION WANTED OF WILLIAM O’CONNELL, a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia, in June, 1869, and has not been heard from since. Information of him will be received by his wife, Mary O’Connell, Charleston, Kinawa county, West Virginia.
22nd April 1871
INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS WHITE, baker by trade, son of John and Margaret White, a native of Middleton, county Cork; when last heard from was in Melbourne, Australia. Information concerning him will be received by his sisters. Address Hanora White, care of John Flynn, No. 5 Mystic Place, Charlestown. Mass.
17th June 1871
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL LOMASNEY, a native of Castlmartyr, county Cork, who emigrated from Middleton, of said county, in 1869; aged 26 years; when least heard of he was in Savannah, Georgia, January, 1871. Information of him will be received by his brother, Thomas Lomasney, Portland, Middlesex county, Conn.
14th October 1871
INFORMATION WANTED OF THOMAS CONAL, or his wife (maiden name Nellie McCarty), born in Middleton, county Cork, who came to Boston 26 years ago; they moved from Boston to Norwich, Conn., where they lived about seven years; when last heard from, about 18 years ago, they were in the State of New York. Information of them will be received by her brother, Timothy McCarty, No. 1 Foster place, Boston, Mass. [an advertisement of 21st October corrects to ‘born in Churchtown, near Middleton’]
27th June 1874
INFORMATION WANTED OF JOHN MCDERMOTT, Middleton, co. Cork, who left Ireland about four years ago, and landed in New York; from there he went West. His brother heard a short time ago that he was in New Hampshire, but left there for Maine or Massachusetts. Any one knowing where he is will confer a great favor by addressing his brother, Patrick McDermott, corner of Warren and Jefferson streets, East Cambridge, Mass.
12th September 1874
INFORMATION WANTED OF COLMAN and MICHAEL SISK, of Midleton, county Cork, who are supposed to be residing at present in some one of the Eastern States. Any person knowing their present address will confer a great favor by communicating the same to William Kidney, corner of Compton and Clark avenue, St. Louis, Mo.
21st August 1875
INFORMATION WANTED OF PATRICK, COLEMAN and MICHAEL SPLAIN, sons of Patrick Splain and Johanna Day, parish of Midleton, county Cork; they left Ireland 25 years ago; when last heard from Michael and Patrick were in Washington county, Vermont, and Coleman somewhere in Massachusetts. Information of them will be received by Lawrence Splain, Putnam county, N.Y.
14th January 1877
INFORMATION WANTED OF ANDREW HYDE, formerly of Middletown, county Cork; when last heard from was in Portland, Conn. Information of him will be received by his sister, Minnie Hyde, 374 Main Street, Charlestown, Mass.
24th January 1880
INFORMATION WANTED OF OWEN O’KEEFFE, son of Owen and Ellen O’Keeffe (maiden name Coleman), a native of Middleton, county Cork, who left home about 28 years ago, and went to England; left there for this country; when last heard from was in California. Information of him will be received by his brother, John O’Keeffe, Hingham, Mass.
21st May 1892
INFORMATION WANTED OF MRS. MARY COTTER, (born Mary Upton), a native of parish of Middleton, County Cork, who came to this country when young. It is known that she settled in Boston, and that her family are at present living in this city, Boston or vicinity. Any information of her, or any of her family, will be thankfully received by Miss Maggie Upton, a niece of Mrs. Cotter. Address 2256 North Ninth Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
22nd April 1905
INFORMATION WANTED OF ELLIE KENEALY, daughter of John Kenealy, hardware merchant of Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, who I think is now in Boston , or vicinity, will communicate with John Walsh, of East Berlin, Conn., she will hear of something to her advantage.
23rd December 1911
INFORMATION WANTED OF MICHAEL and DENIS and HONORA DENEHY, brothers and sister, born near the town of Middleton, County Cork, Ireland, went to America about 1860 or 1861; last heard of was at Boston Mass. Brother Thomas, address Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia, would like to hear from above or any of their family.
Harris, Ruth-Ann M., Donald M. Jacobs, and B. Emer O’Keeffe, editors. Searching for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in “The Boston Pilot 1831–1920”. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1989.