The Irish-American, a weekly newspaper published in New York City for the edification of the Irish immigrant population, began publication in August 1849, at the height of the great exodus from Ireland. Besides news items of interest to the Irish community, the paper ran a popular classified section for people seeking information on relatives and friends who had recently taken up residence in the U.S. These classified ads appeared in a column entitled "Information Wanted," and because of their genealogical value they have been transcribed in their entirety for this publication. The ads are of particular importance to the genealogist because they usually indicate the Irish county, townland, or parish from which an immigrant came, and virtually all Irish genealogical research is based on the identification of these jurisdictions.
In addition to naming former places of residence in Ireland, the ads often name places of residence in the U.S., provide names and relationships of family members, give dates of departure from Ireland and arrival in the U.S., indicate ships' names, and sometimes specify ages and occupations. To help the researcher use this data efficiently, the compilers have assembled five separate indexes: Personal Names, Irish Place Names, United States Place Names, Other Places, and New York City Streets. Altogether, some 8,500 names appear in the Personal Names index alone; and there are references to several thousand place names.