4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Our Immigrants’ Son by John Francis Patrick Murphy is a fascinating work of historical fiction. Mr. Murphy traces his ancestors back to Ireland and details the journey of his great-great-grandparents from Ireland to the United States of America. His attention to detail is impressive. The book includes photographs and copies of documents relevant to his family history. This book provides an excellent example of the amount of information available to individuals interested in researching their family history.
The book includes many different members of the author’s family, but the focus is on his great-great-grandparents and his great-grandfather. In May of 1845, the author’s great-great-grandparents departed County Waterford in Ireland to begin new lives in Boston, Massachusetts. They had dreams of a better life in America and left their family and the only home they ever knew to make their dreams come true. They were able to book passage on a ship called Sweden and began their journey. The author includes pictures of the ship, the advertisement for passengers that was published in the newspaper, the ship’s manifest and the passenger listing. The detailed records the author was able to obtain are remarkable. The book follows the couple as they arrive in America and start a family. It includes details about where they lived, the jobs they held, military records and gravestone photographs to create a full picture of the lives they led.
I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in researching their own family history. In fact, the book includes a section at the end that gives advice on researching family trees. The author’s advice is realistic and helpful. What I liked most about the book is the inclusion of historical documents. For example, there are civil war documents and photographs that would interest any history buff. Photographs of census documents from the time are also included. It is fascinating to see these old documents reproduced in the book. The facts presented in the book are documented and footnotes are included. This helps readers who want to learn more about the source of the historical information provided.
There was nothing I disliked about this book. It was focused on the author’s ancestors, but he provided additional history about life in Ireland and the United States that adds another layer to the book. In this way, it’s a story about immigrants that most people can relate to in some way through their own family history. There are also sections addressing discrimination against Irish Catholics in Ireland and in the United States that make you appreciate the struggle immigrants experienced when coming to a new country. The author’s writing style is very descriptive of the time-period and the emotions immigrants experience when leaving home and starting a new life in a new country.
I would recommend this book to readers interested in history or immigration. There were no sexual situations or significant profanity that would make the book inappropriate for young adult readers. I believe the book was professionally edited because I saw only two minor errors that did not impact my enjoyment of the book. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars as an excellent example of the type of information available to individuals interested in researching the lives of their ancestors.
Our Immigrants' Son
View: on Bookshelves