I am 4th generation Chicago Irish. I am trying to find out where in Ireland my 2x great grandparents were from. I've narrowed two of them down to the County's they were from (Cork and Limerick) but two others I've no idea.

My Irish ancestors were part of the Famine Irish. They all came between 1845 and 1854. They all (4) settled in Chicago and I believe that they all met and married in Chicago. Unfortunately the Chicago Fire, 1871, destroyed most of the Chicago records (Naturalization at the Court Houses) and the Catholic Cathedral records, where I believe both sets were married and some of the children baptized. I've found some siblings at St.Patricks and some at Immaculate Conception.

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to research the Irish specific to Chicago pre 1871 fire.

My ancestors are Michael Egan (?), Katherine Driscoll (Cork ) Catherine Howard, (?) and John Bluett - Limerick.

Tags: Bluett, Chicago, Chicago Fire, Cork, Driscoll, Egan, Famine, Howard, Limerick

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 I would drop a note  to ..thefaminelady@aol.com      marie .....she knows all about the famine and things connected to it ...she may help..good luck..annette.

mary, I gave you the incorrect email...


good luck searching

Mary: A quick way to find if any of the men served in The Civil War would be to look in NPS site on line. If you find one---note the regiment and contact me. There are ways of getting pension files and military files from D.C.

Pension files are especially good---they sometime include marriage and death certificates. I can guide you thru the process.

Mike Kane, Pittsburgh, Pa    obrien88ny@yahoo.com.  

Hi Michael,

This is a great suggestion and I welcome your help with this. I've collected about 15 names of  soldiers who might be my g.g.grandfathers.

 That said, one of my g.g.grandfathers, Michael Egan, raised horses for the Union Army on Goose Island in the middle of the Chicago River. His children were born in 1857 -1870. We think he was born about 1808 and would have been in his 50's during the civil war. So I thought he might not have joined as he was pretty old to be a soldier.

However, my other gg grandfather John Bluett  was born about 1832, and started having his children from 1862 - 1879. And while I think his age would indicate that he could have served, I wonder when he would have had time to father 9 children.

Did they get leave during the Civil War??? Would you know how long a commitment a soldier had while in the military during the Civil War?

Any and all help is greatly appreciated!


In the Union army, you could serve anywhere from 90 days to three (volunteers only.) If a guy enlisted in the regulars --he served a five year hitch. In a volunteer regiment, if the colonel was a good guy, you  could take French leave-----AWOL---with no consequences. Chicago's best know Irish regiments were the 23rd and 90th Illinois---but an Irishman could enlist in regular  regiments too. If you want to send me a list, I'll run it through the NPS data base to see if we get any hits. I've done it so many times --that it would save you a lot of time. Enlisted men aged anywhere from 18 to 50.

Mary: Pension records from the soldier or widow usually reveal more info than military records---but not everyone applied for a pension-----send me your list. 

Thank you so much Michael,

  • Egan, Michael
    13th Regiment, Illinois Cavalry
  • (I think this is a duplicate of Michael Eagan.) I would think that if he was in any regiment, it would be the Cavalry as he raised horses. I've also kept it to Illinois, though I have been told that he had brothers who landed in New York with him but they stayed there. And I've also kept it to the Union.

Now the Bluetts, that looks promising. (John Bluett had two children who were born in St. Louis and the rest in Illinois. I assumed that he was following the Railroad)

(These are all spelling that I have found for John Bluett at various times)

So these are all Union soldiers. I'll go back and look under Confederate Soldiers too, as he was in Missouri in 1862 and 1866. 

Thanks for making this effort for me. 


I'll try to get started poking around tomorrow. However with such an early birth I'd say his chances of being in a cavalry regiment...are slim

Bluett seems a better candidate with the 1832 birthdate

I think John Bluett is the best chance for the Civil War too.   Thanks again.

Hi Annette,

I tried irishfaminelady@aol.com but my email got bounced back. Do you know if there is a number before or after the email address?




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