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18th and 19th Century Irish Emigres in France

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 06, 1990


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by John H. McGuckin Jr.

"The phenomenon of migration is a familiar one to the Irish genealogist. Most researchers, however, focus their attention on immigration to the New World, rather than upon the thousands of Irish men and women who emigrated to Europe.

While the term "wild geese" most often refers to the Irish soldiers in the service of continental monarchs, it is equally applicable to the priests, merchants and scholars who left Ireland to live and work on the European continent.

Beginning with "the Flight of the Earls" on September 4, 1607, and continuing into the 19th century, this European migration ebbed and flowed and should not be neglected by family historians.

This article summarises the data I have collected on fifteen generations of two related Irish-French families: the Suttons de Clonard from County Wexford, and the MacGuckins de Slane, from Belfast, County Antrim.

In many cases, my data, which was collected in Ireland, England and France, is still incomplete. Yet it illustrates the close ties between Ireland and the continent during the 18th and 19th centuries."