Midwestern Settlements of the Irish Catholic Colonization Association

March 24th, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

TITLE: “An Invitation to the Land”: The Midwestern Settlements of the Irish Catholic Colonization Association


TIME & DATE: Saturday, 5 May 2018, 8:00am

SPONSOR: New England Historic Genealogical Society

While researching my mother’s family, I was surprised to learn that my maternal great-grandfather, James E. Conlon, was born in Minnesota in 1880, while his two older siblings and three younger siblings were born in Massachusetts. James’s parents, James Conlon and Eliza (Tracey) Conlon, had no known ties to Minnesota, so I was curious as to what brought them to the Midwest shortly before James’s birth. Their time in Minnesota was brief, so initially I was not overly optimistic about finding anything of note.

However, using sources such as newspapers, county histories, and manuscript collections, I uncovered the fascinating story of the Conlon family’s migration to the Midwest through the assistance of the Irish Catholic Colonization Association (ICCA), and learned about the successes and failures of other ICCA colonies.

During my lecture, I will talk about the history of the ICCA, and provide information about the various sources available to those researching ancestors who may have settled in one of the ICCA colonies. Even if your ancestor settled in an area well after it was first colonized by the ICCA, learning about the ICCA’s connection to a particular town or county may help you identify sources useful to your own research.

ABOUT: Eileen Curley Pironti is a staff member at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston, Massachusetts, where she currently serves as Genealogist of the Newbury Street Press. Prior to this, she was a Senior Researcher with NEHGS’s Research Services Department. Her areas of expertise include Irish and Scottish research.