Discover your ancestor in records from the American Fenian Brotherhood. The records span the years from 1864 to 1897.
This browse search comprises correspondence between members of the British Foreign Office regarding the activities of the American Fenian Brotherhood during the years from 1864 to 1897. Records include newspaper cuttings, letters, telegrams, lists of prisoners, and some photographs.
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Taken from the FO5 collection held at The National Archives in Kew, these records chart the American Fenian Brotherhood’s efforts to liberate Ireland from British rule during the mid- to late Victorian era.
The American Fenian Brotherhood was founded in 1858 by Irish exiles John O’Mahony and Michael Doheny. Tracing its origins back to the Society of United Irishmen and born out of the social turmoil resulting from the famine of the 1840s, the American Fenian Brotherhood was a precursor for Clan na Gael and its members were known as Fenians.
This collection comprises correspondence between the British Home Office and Foreign Office about the activities of the Brotherhood. Included are letters between officials and also copies of The Sunday Democrat and The Irish World nationalist newspapers, which carried news from across Ireland.
The collection includes accounts of the Brotherhood’s incursions into Canadian territory during the years 1866 to 1871. In 1866, John O’Mahony and 700 Fenians attacked Campobello Island, New Brunswick. This was the first of what would become known as the ‘Fenian Raids.’ Civil War veteran John O’Neill led the last raid in 1871 and was arrested by United States authorities for violating neutrality laws. This militant approach led to a split within the Brotherhood and its eventual decline.
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