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Burke-Greely Family
Ireland to America

Baxter Boulevard, Portland, Maine USA
(A view of the Portland skyline via Baxter Boulevard, summer 2005. The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception steeple in center view.)

* Always under construction *

Family Current Research Portland Irish History St. Dominic's RC Church

Welcome. I've been researching Portland Irish family history since the 1990s. My direct maternal side descends from immigrants from Galway, and south Mayo, along the Galway border, in Ireland. Surnames include Burke, Greely/Grealy, Cunningham, Riley/Reily, Welch/Walsh, Stanton/Staunton, etc. 

The purpose of this site serves as a place to share information with the hope of connecting with other researchers who would like to collaborate on family history. Thousands of immigrants from Galway settled in Portland, Maine beginning in the 1840's right up through the mid 20th century. The peak of Irish immigration to the city appears between the years 1860-1880. Immigration was often followed by a steady chain migration of family members,  friends and neighbors. Sometimes, it carried on for decades and generations. Once, I found a passenger record for a man arriving in the US a half century after his aunt had immigrated. Sometimes, people had their passage paid by landlords, immigration schemes, such as the Tuke fund, or an aid society, sponsored by the church, government or other organization. By investigating families and primary sources on this side of the Atlantic, I hope to sort out some of the tangled family relationships and, hopefully, discover more about their origins in the Old Country.

Michael Burke and Bridget Grealy were both born in Galway, Ireland. Both of their families had immigrated to the United States in the mid 19th century, and settled down in Portland. In 1857, Michael and Bridget joined hands in marriage at St. Dominic's church, which was the city's first Catholic church, and built by the community's Irish.

Like so many of the city's Irish, Michael found dependable work with the Grand Trunk Railroad and the Portland Company on Fore Street. In 1860, he purchased a 2-family house at 17 Adams Street from his employer, the Portland Company. The duplex remained in the family for over a century.

Bridget Burke
Bridget's signature

Mary Ann, eldest child of Michael & Bridget - first of the family born in the United States.

Krista J. Ozyazgan 

"The literature of a nation is spun out of its heart. If you want to know Ireland, body and soul, you must read its poems and stories. They are Ireland talking to herself." - W. B. Yeats