My Brooklyn Bucket List

Since discovering the deep-rooted history of my paternal Irish line in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, a visit has been on the top of my bucket-list.

Brooklyn was filled with Irish immigrants in the 1850s. The port of New York served as a major point of entry to the United States and New York City was well on its way to becoming one of the most Irish cities in the United States. During this time, two of my great-great-grandparents would join the ever-growing number of families who left their Irish homeland for America, both ultimately landing in Brooklyn, NY.

Thomas Henry Barry left Ireland for Canada where his path would cross with Sarah Ann Barrett in Montreal. They were married there on June 16, 1847 and moved to Brooklyn, NY a few years later where their son Thomas Henry, Jr was born in 1853. Thomas was a successful compositor.

John S. Mitchell left the north of Ireland for American where he and his wife Sarah would settle in the same Williamsburg neighborhood and where they welcomed their daughter, Mary Elizabeth, in 1855. John held the office of City Treasurer of Brooklyn 1879-1882 and was a successful real estate investor in later years.

The next-generation united on July 16,1878 when Thomas Henry Barry, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Mitchell married. They settled down in the same Brooklyn neighborhood where they both grew up, the same neighborhood where they would raise families of their own, as would their children and grandchildren.

In the hope of getting a glimpse into what their lives might have been like, I mapped out their address and set off for Brooklyn. Riding around the

neighborhood was wonderfully nostalgic and I kept wondering what it must have been like back then as we drove down of the streets that they walked on and past the places where they lived.

Although the neighborhood is vastly different since Thomas and John came over, their stories are likely similar to many of the Irish immigrant families who made Brooklyn their new home. This trip was amazing (especially with a stop at Coney Island) and now adds to the tales to be told and passed on to future generations to ensure they are not forgotten. Tales to remember yesterday and appreciate the sacrifices made by our ancestors who left their homes and families to create a better life for future generations ~ like me 😊 Thank You!


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