The Islands of the Blest

New Event: The Islands of the Blest – Songs of Ireland in New Haven *Update*

Note: This event is being postponed. Cabiria has the flu. She’ll reschedule as soon as possible.
We’ll update with new date at that time.

The Islands of  the Blest
Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 1 PM – 2 PM
23 Woodbine St, Hamden, CT 06517-2026, United States
Facebook Event Page: The Islands of the Blest
Cabiria Jacobsen Official Website

Join Cabiria Jacobsen and Jason Wirth for an afternoon of music inspired by Ireland. Samuel Barber’s Hermit Songs are set to texts by 9th – 11th century Irish monks and saints, giving the listener an intimate glimpse into their daily thoughts and lives. The words of Scott Wheeler’s rollicking Ben Gunn songs are by celebrated contemporary Irish poet Paul Muldoon, and describe three episodes in the life of the marooned pirate of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Finally, four poems by Nobel Prize winner Seamus Heaney are set to music by Ellen Mandel. Bring your friends and enjoy some light refreshments at host Brian Slattery’s house concert house.

New Haven Records

New Haven Vital Records Now Viewable Online

New Haven Records has been adding new records to their online viewing library and I discovered today that the New Haven Vital Records are now online! I used these records to do a lot of my New Haven research. In fact, when I just opened a random page to do a screencap for this post, there was a Stanford right at the top! I have had all of these films on permanent loan at my local LDS FHC , however, now the research can all be done online!

This is the direct link to the records, however, I’m also going to list the directions for finding them , in case the link doesn’t work.
Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1639-1902 ; indexes to births, marriages, and deaths, 1639-1914

Go to
Click on Search tab..and then from drop down choose “Catalog”
In the Search by location.. start typing in “New Haven” .. Choose the option for “New Haven, New Haven”..the city.. not just the county.

Then in the long list that shows up of all City of New Haven records.. go to the bottom and click on
“Vital Records”
Then click on “Records of births, marriages, and deaths, 1639-1902 ; indexes to births, marriages, and deaths, 1639-1914
Author: New Haven (Connecticut). Registrar of Vital Statistics; New Haven (Connecticut). Town Clerk”

After clicking on’ll see all of the individual films..with a camera icon way over to the right. Click on the camera and you’ll see the pages.

Pay attention to the dates listed .. match up with when your family was in New Haven.

There are indexes, however, I browsed page by page for a few reasons.. sometimes my surnames showed up as a parent or other item.. not indexed. And sometimes the spelling was off in the index.

Good Luck with your research and let me know if you have any questions!

Irish Immigrants

Irish Immigrants to America.. Heading Home?

In all my years researching my Irish ancestors who had settled in New Haven, Connecticut, I had come across a hand full of records which indicated that an individual or a family probably returned to the place of their birth. I didn’t think about it too much and always assumed that it was not too common. Recently, while putting together a book on my Wrynn family, I came across such a record. It was a Civil War Draft record for “Michael Rinn” who lived in New Haven and in the draft record is listed as having “gone to Ireland”. This record, coupled with the fact that Michael is not listed in Connecticut records from about that same time, made me think that he and his family probably did return to County Leitrim.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This week, while searching for newspaper articles for the Wrynn family, I came across a couple of articles from the 1850’s that made me realize that giving up the dream of a new life in America was not as uncommon as I had first thought. The first article that I came across was this one dated 9 September 1854 that seems to have been originally printed in a Boston paper and reprinted in the Columbian Register in New Haven, CT.


I also found this article from the Columbian Register in New Haven, dated 10 March 1855. I’m not sure what the actual number or percentage is of Irish immigrants to America returning to the homeland, but I now know that it was much more common than I had originally believed.



Site Update: Irish Move to the Suburbs

While working on a book about my Irish ancestors who moved to Wallingford, CT from New Haven, I collected a few old postcards and other images. I’ve added a page to the website with images from the suburbs like Wallingford, West Haven and Hamden, that many of the Irish from New Haven moved to over the years.

You can see the new page here:The Irish Move to the Suburbs

I’ll be adding other images and other “suburbs” in the future. If you have suggestions or images to share..feel free to contact me at mpitkin (at)

Savin Rock Pier Savin Rock Park: “Connecticut’s Coney Island

Just wanted to share a link to a story about Savin Rock Park from

Savin Rock Park: “Connecticut’s Coney Island

“Savin Rock Park was a seaside resort constructed in the late 19th century in the modern-day town of West Haven. Known as “Connecticut’s Coney Island,” Savin Rock Park brought together peoples of all classes and ethnicities in the name of fun and entertainment. The park’s long-lasting success made it a model for many of the state’s current amusement attractions. Credit for its development belongs primarily to one man, Colonel George Kelsey.”

You can see more photos of Savin Rock on my “Leisure” page here: Irish In New Haven: Leisure

Link to “Irish Bridgets” Story

Irish Bridget, Catherine O’Connell

Irish Bridget, Catherine O’Connell

While doing some general research this week, I found this interesting article about a lecture given by local historian and retired New Haven Register newspaperman Neil Hogan , now with the Connecticut Irish American Historical Society Hogan shared his research and photo archive at the lecture, about the life of the typical Irish servant in New Haven.

“Every Irish family [in Connecticut] has at least one [relative] who served as a domestic servant,” said Hogan.

Here’s the link if you’d like to read more. I found the chart, showing Irish population in New Haven over the decades, interesting.

For “Irish Bridgets,” Life Wasn’t Downton Abbey

The Jennie Cramer Trial

Photo credit:

The dark, gritty story surrounding the death of Jennie Cramer came to my attention because my Great Great Grandmother, Ann Carroll Stanford’s, sisters Nellie Carroll and Mrs. Mary Carroll Clarke were called as witnesses during the trial. At the time Savin Rock in West Haven, where the body was found, was a popular destination for the irish families in New Haven. Nellie and Mary were at Savin Rock the last night that Jennie Cramer was alive. They testified that they saw her.

In 1881, working class girl, Jennie Cramer, was dating James Malley, the nephew of one of New Haven’s richest men, Edward Malley. Jennie had been staying out late with James and her mother had kicked her out of her house. That was the last time that Jennie’s mother saw her alive. Her body washed up on shore on August 6, 1881. In the ensuing trial there were accusations that due to witness bribary and altering of the charges favored the accused. James Malley, his cousin, Walter Malley and Walter’s friend, Blanche Douglas, were aquitted.

The story of the murder case is featured in the book “Arsenic Under the Elms: Murder in Victorian New Haven” (1999) by Virginia A. McConnell

Here is the section from a newspaper article that outlines my ancestor’s testimony

Click to Enlarge to read

Click to Enlarge to read

Here are two other articles about this dark incident in New Haven’s history:

  • Found Drifting With the Tide at
  • Jennie Cramer Murder Trial: 1882 at
  • Here is a link to the full article about the trial in the New York World: May 1882

    The Dark Side of Life For Our Immigrant Ancestors


    In the course of my genealogy research I pour over articles from old New Haven newspapers. Most of the stories are mundane. I usually find police reports that mention many of my relatives being arrested for public drunkenness or selling liquor on Sunday. Once in awhile I stumble on a story with a little more meat to it.

    KatherineKellyBreretonBrophy-223x300Such a story starts with my relative, John Brereton, a New Haven fireman born in 1857 in Ireland. In 1885 he married one Catherine Kelly. The couple had three children. By 1890 the couple had separated and Catherine sued John for divorce. The divorce and custody of children was granted on basis of habitual intemperance and intolerable Cruelty. Just to give some credence to Catherine’s claims, I found another article In March 1890, reporting how John and another man were arrested for breach of peace due to an attack on a man that came to John’s house to supposedly buy liquor, although the house is not licensed to sell it. A very brutal, bloody fight ensued. John and his friend tried to say that they were the victims and only acted in self defence, but the judge did not believe their story.

    John Brereton died in February 1891 of a “hemorrhage of the brain”

    Later in 1891 I found a story reporting that Catherine Brereton, the widow of John Brereton, and a “Jane Brophy” wife of James Brophy were involved in an altercation. It seems that James was married with children, but that his wife and he would often separate.. and then get back together. There is not reason given for the fight, but based on the rest of this story, we can safely assume that the women were fighting over James Brophy.

    Here is the full article in the paper: KatherineKellyBreretonBrophyTrial

    Here is the link to my original post on my genealogy site: Old Newspapers and Black Sheep Make For Interesting Research

    Note: I found out that one of my relatives was a witness in a prominent murder trial in New Haven. I’ll post about that soon.

    The Hill

    “The Hill” – A Documentary

    The Hill

    While doing my typical “googling” for new info about the places that my ancestors lived, I stumbled on a blog post about a new documentary that is about New Haven’s “Hill” neighborhood in the modern age. The film was co-produced by Jacob Bricca (the blog author) and his wife, Lisa Molomot.

    The Hill tells the story of a group of African-American neighbors who fight to save their homes from destruction when the City of New Haven proposes a huge new school complex in their neighborhood. Taking their case all the way to federal court, this unlikely group of crusaders band together with preservationists and civil rights advocates in this story about 21st century racism.

    I think what struck me when I saw the image above, was that while this documentary concerns the present day African-American residents of “The Hill”, it also concerns the thousands of Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants who also lived in those houses that the people in the film are trying to save. There will always be a connection between all of the past residents of “The Hill” and the current ones. That connection makes me want to see this film!

    You can read the article that I stumbled on here:


    Old Updates

    Updated 17 April 2007

    Apr 17:Welcome to our new home: I haven’t done alot with these pages recently, but plan to update soon, so check back often. If you haven any content – photos, news, links, records etc – that you would like to add, please email me at mpitkin(AT)

    Also, please note that we have revamped the forum. It has a new url and new look. Irish In New Haven Forum

    Mar 26:Added photos to this page, work and leisure pages. Thanks to James McCabe
    for the City Point Monument Postcard.

    carriage ad

    Mar 19:Added some links, photos and moved some pages, let me know if the links don’t work.
    You can now bookmark this page.