The Harland diaspora

The Harland family circa 1900 at Hillside, Bessbrook.

From L to R: Tom, Lizzie, Wallace, Elinor, Jack, Willie, John, Noel, Arthur and ?

The Jews were scattered to all parts of the world. They described this movement as the Diaspora. Without its capital’ D’, the Irish have come to love this word of ancient Greek origins meaning ‘those who are scattered; a dispersion, as of a people belonging to one nation’.


The Irish famine (1846-1850), caused by the repeated failure of the potato crops, had led to some two million Irish men and women setting off all round the world, never to return.  Even 60 and more years later the Irish still regarded emigration as a common-sense thing to do – and that in spite of the fact that the only available transport option was a long, slow, uncomfortable journey by sea.


This web site reports the history of just one of very many examples of the Irish diaspora, which sprang from a single clan - the Harland family - all six of John Harland’s sons emigrated. Many of their comings and goings are told in the following pages, which also detail the whereabouts of their many descendants.