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Irish Americans

Irish Americans are one of America's biggest ethnic groups. In fact, nearly 40 million people said they have some Irish ancestry on the 2008 U.S. Census. That's about 12 percent of the population of the United States. Many Irish people came to America during the years of the Irish Potato Famine, or the Great Famine, as it was called. A disease destroyed Ireland's potato crop, ruining the main source of food for many people, and leading to a prolonged famine. Between 1845 and 1852, approximately 1 million Irish died of starvation, and a million more emigrated. Many Americans today maintain a sense of pride in their Irish heritage.

Aim of this project

The aim of this project is to create a collection of profiles of all those Irish who emigrated to the United States and eventually make the connection back to their ancestors and villages and towns in Ireland.

How can you help?

Add the profiles of the Irish emigrant to this project giving as much information in the profile, dates full names etc. The Irish diaspora was massive so we should be able to add a lot of profiles to this project. Lets bring them all home.

Notable Irish Americans or notables with Irish ancestry


  • Barack Obama Roots in Ireland go back to 1850, when Falmouth Kearney, the 19-year-old son of a local shoemaker, left Moneygall to begin a new life in the United States.
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Andrew Jackson His parents left Boneybefore, near Carrickfergus in County Antrim.
  • James Buchanan The Buchanans were originally from Deroran, near Omagh in County Tyrone where the ancestral home still stands.
  • James Knox Polk His ancestors were among the first Ulster-Scots settlers, emigrating from Coleraine in 1680 to become a powerful political family in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
  • Andrew Johnson His grandfather left Mounthill, near Larne in County Antrim around 1750 and settled in North Carolina.
  • Ulysses Grant The home of his maternal great-grandfather, John Simpson, at Dergenagh, County Tyrone.
  • Chester A. Arthur His family left Dreen, near Cullybackey, County Antrim, in 1815.
  • Grover Cleveland He was the maternal grandson of merchant Abner Neal, who emigrated from County Antrim in the 1790s
  • William McKinley Born in Ohio, the descendant of a farmer from Conagher, near Ballymoney, County Antrim.
  • Theodore Roosevelt His mother, Mittie Bulloch, had Ulster Scots ancestors who emigrated from Glenoe, County Antrim, in May 1729.
  • Woodrow Wilson He was grandson of a printer from Dergalt, near Strabane, County Tyrone.
  • Richard Nixon Of Northern Ireland descent on both sides, the Quaker Milhous family ties were with County Antrim and County Kildare.
  • Jimmy Carter One of his maternal ancestors, Brandon McCain, emigrated from County Derry to America in 1810.
  • Ronald Reagan He was the great-grandson, on his father's side, of Irish migrants from County Tipperary who came to America via Canada and England in the 1840s.

American actors of Irish descent

Irish-American comedians

  • Denis Leary's parents are Irish immigrants from Killarney, County Kerry; has said that he is a third cousin to Conan O'Brien, presumably on a Gavin line (shared ancestral surname) in Ireland.
  • Conan O'Brien's O'Brien line came from Dungarvan, County Waterford; each of his lines arrived immediately post-Famine or during the American Civil War; see profile for information.