If may be surprised to learn your Irish ancestor actually had German roots. This is a fascinating story.
The Rhineland Palatinate is now a part of Germany. In 1709 many left seeking a better life.Of the 10,000 Protestant immigrants, one third emigrated to New York and North Carolina. Another third went to England and the Caribbean. The last third went to Ireland. About 800 families were settled on the estates of Protestant landlords. Most were on the Southwell Estate near Rathkeale, County Limerick. Descendants would immigrate to what would become Ontario. A second colony went to County Wexford at Old Ross and Gorey.
For genealogical purposes, much reference material is available. These include: Henry Z. Jones The Palatine Families of Ireland (1990); Patrick J. O’Connor’s People Make Places: The Story of the Irish Palatines (1996) and Carolyn A. Heald’s The Irish Palatines in Ontario: Religion, Ethnicity and Rural Migration (1994), and Eula C. Lapp To Their Heirs Forever (1977). Each of these explores migrations of the Palatines in and then out of Ireland. Carolyn A. Heald’s article “Researching Irish Palatines in Ireland and Ontario” in The Irish At Home and Abroad, 4, #2 (1997): 64-71, brings together sources from which to trace these families.
The Internet is an excellent place to begin your research. The Irish Palatine Association in Rathkeale operates the Irish Palatine Heritage Centre: http://irishpalatines.org Their goal is to preserve history and culture. The Ontario Genealogical Society has a special Irish Palatine Interest Group dedicated to research: http://web.mac.com/bobfizzell/SIG-IP/HomeSIG-IP.html Use the key words “Ireland Palatine” or “Irish Palatine” and you will discover fascinating websites.
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