Mar 21, 2012

Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls

This mission to Irish immigrant girls was the inspiration for the Ellis Island Series I'm currently working on. I marveled over pictures of this building on the Internet and when I was able to see it in person last October it was just as amazing to see that this old building was still standing among the modern skyscrapers of the Wall Street District.

Many immigrants came to America completely unprepared, and this was certainly true for young Irish girls. Missions like this were created to keep the girls from harm or from turning to a life of prostitution out of desperation. Approximately 60,000 girls came through this building from the late 1800's to the middle of the 20th century. And now, according to this article, records are available for genealogical research.

I like to imagine what life was like for these girls, alone, scared, having to adjust to a different society with all kinds of modern conveniences they did not have back home. If it weren't for societies like this one the history of the these families might have been very different. If you have an Irish immigrant ancestor who came through Ellis Island and then worked as Irish maid, you very well might find your relative's name in the society's ledgers. I'd love to hear about it!

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