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Those that survived the journey often had just one thought on their minds: to be free of British oppression.
While many chose to settle in Canada, substantially more managed to find the physical and financial resources to reach America.
However, the continuing steady numbers encouraged ship builders to construct bigger vessels.
They set up sizeable ethnic ghettos in cities along the north eastern seaboard.
At this time, when famine was raging in Ireland, Irish immigration to America came from two directions: by transatlantic voyage to the East Coast Ports (primarily Boston and New York) or by land or sea from Canada, then called British North America.
Notwithstanding the lack of trust between the predominantly Protestant America-born middle class and the impoverished Catholic immigrants who arrived in the mid-19th century, the main problem for the Irish immigrant was a lack of skill.
Of course, there were some who were blacksmiths, stonemasons, bootmakers and the like, but the majority had had no former formal training at anything.
But when boom times turned down, as they did in the mid-1850s, social unrest followed and it could be especially difficult for immigrants who were considered to be taking jobs from Americans.
Being already low in the pecking order, the Irish suffered great discrimination.
The arrival of destitute and desperate Catholics, many of whom spoke only Irish or a smattering of English, played out very differently.
Suspicious of the majority Anglo-American-Protestants (a historically-based trait that was reciprocated), and limited by a language barrier, illiteracy and lack of skills, this wave of Irish immigrants sought refuge among their own kind.
Many of the ads refer to women, for whom determining the exact place of origin can often be more difficult because they didn't apply for naturalisation (this status was passed to them by their husband).
Many databases charge for this resource but an incomplete version is available free through the Boston College Irish Studies Program.
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