The Harland diaspora

John Harland (b. 1854) was a farmer, businessman  and grocer in the village of Bessbrook in Co. Armagh. He was the agent who provided tickets for steamship companies such as the White Star Line.


Tom, Willie, Jack and Wallace were the sons of his first marriage. Each of them was to find a wife in a different continent:- Tom married a South African, Willie an Australian, and Jack an American; while Wallace, after spending several years in New York and then serving in the British Army during the Great War, returned to Ireland to marry his girlfriend from their schooldays together. She, too, had been part of the diaspora.


This story is rather unusual  because this family, although so widely dispersed, kept in constant communication with each other down the years. Any  reasons for this limpet-like behaviour remain obscure but perhaps explanations may be found in some snippets about the human geography and history of Ireland - see the  Background section.





From L-R, Willie, Wallace, Tom, Jack

The Early Diaspora