Can You Join the Search for the 1490?

The Irish National Famine Museum is seeking to trace the 1,490 tenants and their descendants, especially Irish Famine orphans adopted in Quebec, who were forced to emigrate to Canada and the United States from Denis Mahon’s Strokestown estate in 1847.  The National Famine Way is a commemoration of this forced emigration.

The Irish Famine Summer School – June 2023

Through initiatives like The Irish Famine Summer School and the Great Famine Voices Roadshow, supported by The Irish Heritage Trust, the effort to trace the 1,490 emigrating tenants gains momentum. By capturing and sharing personal stories, memories and the shared experience of leaving Ireland the Roadshow brings together their descendants. It preserves the legacy of those who endured the Great Hunger and makes it possible to reconnect families and communities scattered across North America and the United Kingdom. It is an illustration of how historical information is vital for tracing missing descendants and shows that knowing about the past is very important. It helps people discover their family history and connect with their shared heritage again.

This year’s Irish Famine Summer School was held at the Irish National Famine Museum and was particularly poignant with regard to the search for the 1,490.  The theme of this year’s Summer School was ‘Famine Journeys and Trails: Communities, Diaspora, Memory’. It was inspired by the journey taken by Strokestown tenants, who fled Ireland in 1847, as part of their landlord Denis Mahon’s ill-fated assisted emigration scheme. Their journey is emblematic of all Irish Famine migration.

The Irish Famine Summer School was the final part of the programme of the Great Famine Voices Roadshow.  Participants in the Roadshow shared in poignant and uplifting conversations about the experience of leaving Ireland and putting down new roots. It brought together Irish emigrants, their descendants and members of their communities to share family memories and stories of coming from Ireland to North America and the United Kingdom, especially during the period of the Great Hunger and afterward.

How have the missing 1,490 and their descendants been found?

The search for Strokestown’s missing 1,490 emigrants is based on the hand-written emigrant list in the Strokestown Park Archive and the search for the emigrants’ descendants is being led by Professor Mark McGowan from the University of Toronto.  Professor McGowan and his research teams have compiled a list of the 1,490 Strokestown Famine emigrants and mapped their places of settlement in Canada and the United States. They have also traced the children who were orphaned from the 1,490 Famine emigrants and located where many of them were adopted by French-Canadian families. The list of the Strokestown 1,490 Famine emigrants can be found by clicking here.  The list of Famine orphans can be found by clicking here.

How you can help trace the missing 1,490

Have you researched your heritage or completed your family tree?  Does your family descend from the 1,490? Do you have any information that could assist in the search for the 1,490 and their descendants?  Please contact Dr Jason King, Irish Heritage Trust at if you have any information.