For the Grass of a Cow

For the Grass of a Cow: Marion Tiernan’s Irish ancestors from County Meath to Saint Lawrence County, New York, 1820–1999

If you are an American of Irish descent or interested in Irish-American history, this book will amaze you with its depth and insight.

A captivating history of emigrants from County Meath to settlements along the St. Lawrence River, it is told in a clear and down-to-earth voice that will keep you turning pages into the small hours. (Read More)

The book explores how the Irish maintained their identity despite attempts to wipe out their culture, language, and religion, and probes the reasons behind the pre-famine emigration of the 1820s and what followed with the Great Famine of 1845.

The perils of an ocean crossing to Quebec and travel on the St. Lawrence are told in a riveting narrative woven seamlessly into the story of the formation of the townships where lands acquired from the Iroquois were surveyed and sold to settlers shortly after American independence. The story continues with details of life in the wilderness where the land was cleared to start new farms.

The historical discussion switches in the later chapters to a multi-generational family history. Marion Tiernan’s ancestors and many of their neighbors are introduced. Their journeys from home parishes in Ireland to the new settlements are carefully laid out. The final chapters continue their family histories down to the present.

If you are researching and writing your own family history, this book will serve as an excellent example and model.

The genealogy is extensive and well-sourced. You will discover how to get the most out of Irish and U.S. records from the early 1800s so often overlooked or underutilized: Irish Census fragments from 1821; passenger lists from the St. Lawrence Steamboat Company; and the U.S. Censuses of 1830 and 1840.

You will learn new ways to make your genealogical record of distant family members come alive by placing them in a compelling historical narrative. You will see how this approach invites your readers to connect the dots between historical events and circumstances and the lives of their own relatives.

If you are a descendant of Marion Tiernan, her ancestors, or their neighbors in St. Lawrence County this is your story.

You will discover your deep roots in both the Irish and American experience. You will value this book as a wonderful keepsake of your family history and share it with your children and grandchildren.

Editorial Reviews

“This book is a perfect amalgamation of historical and genealogical information worthy of readership. Mr. Carletta is not just a story teller.…What stands out is his clear and concise writing, excellent organization, and scholarly presentation. The book delves deeply into the history of County Meath and Northeastern America, the reasons for emigration, and the conditions faced by the emigrants on their journey to Saint Lawrence County and in the wilderness where they settled.” –Victor C. Pellegrino

“Excellent family history. The book contains extensive, well-sourced information on the author’s heritage as well as details about the historical and sociopolitical context of early 19th century Irish immigration that bring the genealogical information to life….this book…will be of interest to relatives of the author and the broader public alike. For the Grass of a Cow serves as a fine model that achieves a complete and interesting story by including carefully selected biographical material from neighboring families.” –Timothy Leonard

“…a must-read for genealogists wanting to include multiple generations and branches of their tree into one family history book.…Carletta’s background in sociology, his research, and his passion for social history enable him to put his ancestors into a context all family historians can learn from.” –Helen Parker-Drabble

An in-depth history of Irish immigrants to Saint Lawrence County, New York

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Photos

  1. County Meath History
  2. Land Leases, Labor, Economy
  3. Catholic Persecution, Parishes, Church Records
  4. Michael Duffy & Ann Cormick
  5. St. Lawrence Region History
  6. Frontier Conditions, Early Settlers
  7. Voyage to America, River Travel on the St. Lawrence
  8. Settlers from Navan and Westmeath
  9. Settlers from Kellystown and Rathkenny
  10. Ireland 1820-1845
  11. The Famine Years
  12. Thomas Tiernan & Bridget Duffy
  13. Philip Martin & Bridget Mooney
  14. Andrew Tiernan & Mary Ann Martin
  15. James Dunigan & Hannorah Meehan
  16. Morris McNulty Sr. & Mary Haley
  17. Michael Dunigan & Eliza McNulty & Bridget Nulty
  18. Thomas Murphy & Ann Brady
  19. Thomas Murphy & Mary Dunigan
  20. Philip Tiernan & Mary Anne Murphy
  21. Marion Tiernan & Angelo Vincent Carletta
Marion Tiernan's Pedigree

Neighboring Families

From Navan and Westmeath

Christopher Fay b1793 & Bety Eliza Fay b1796
Lawrence Fay b1793 & Ann Waldon b1801
William Gorman b1784 & Catherine F. Miles b1793
Charles Fay b 1788 & Elizabeth Murry b1788
Patrick McKanna b1789 & Bridget McKanna b1798
Peter Dalton b1752 & Nancy Naulty b1764
Matthew W. Dalton b1829
Michael Martin b1781 & Elizabeth Parkinson b1786
James Parkinson b1762

From Kellystown and Rathkenny

Matthew Hughes b1771 & Bridget Traynor b1765
Richard O’Brien b1795 & Mary L. b1790
Patrick O’Brien b1789 & Mary b1800
James O’Brien b1799 & Margaret Hughes b1810
Thomas Tiernan b1765 & Margaret Downey b1775
Andrew Tiernan b1836 & Julia E. Hughes b1836
Patrick Tiernan b1796 & Catherine Nulty b1794

Settlers of the Louisville Township

Michael Clements b1801 & Hanora Snee b1798
John Barry b1812 & Margaret Clements b1820
James Mulhair b1816 & Bridget Clements b1826
William Dunigan b1821 & Catherine Clements b1832
John Murphy b1830 & Ann Ruth Clements b1833
William O’Brien b1818 & Jane Flynn b1836
George O’Brien b1877
Ethel O’Brien Brennan b1882

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