Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.669586
Title: Surname analysis, distant reading, and migrant experience : the Irish in London, 1801-1820
Author: Crymble, Adam
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 1546
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2015
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Abstract:
After English internal migrants, the Irish were the largest group to relocate to London in the early nineteenth century. This thesis explores the experiences of the Irish communities in London at this oft-overlooked point in the Irish diaspora’s past. The work is split into two parts. The first of these parts focuses on understanding who the Irish were and what it meant to be ‘Irish’ in the early nineteenth century. It also explores what cues contemporaries used to identify the Irish in London during these two decades, and how those cues were different from those that can be used by historians. The goal of this first section is to determine the best way for historians to identify Irish individuals in sets of historical records. This would make it possible to do comparative analyses of the Irish and non-Irish in the city. Ultimately this can be achieved through three processes: nominal record linkage (finding archival evidence of an individual’s Irish connection), keyword searching for Irish geographical terms, and a surname analysis. The surname analysis was based upon a study of 278,000 records from the census of 1841, and validated against thousands of records from 1778-1805, to determine the most reliable surnames. This surname analysis resulted in the creation of a tool (Appendix I), which I argue can be used by historians to identify probable Irish individuals when no other evidence is available. This digital humanities tool was then tested through a series of historical case studies to determine its value for historians. The case studies involved an examination of Irish defendants in the Old Bailey Proceedings, which highlights how the local population reacted to the Irish when interpersonal conflicts occurred. The Proceedings contain abridged transcripts of the trials of all 25,000 defendants tried for felonies in London during this period. Using the census analysis, I was able to identify 1,700 ‘probable Irish’ defendants. I then conducted data mining and quantitative analyses that identified differences in the conflict resolution strategies used by the locals when dealing with the Irish and the non-Irish respectively. The evidence suggests that locals were more suspicious when dealing with the Irish, and quicker to turn to the legal system when things went wrong. However, it would seem that as a group, the Irish gave cause for concern. An Irish underclass was certainly heavily involved in crime; but more importantly, Irish seasonal migration led to a dramatic increase in the city’s Irish population each summer and autumn. Poor planning by government ministers also meant that mass demobilisation of Irish soldiers and sailors after the wars with the French had a similar effect (particularly in 1802), unintentionally swelling the size of the Irish population in the capital. These impermanent migrants failed to adhere to the social expectations the locals had of their neighbours, thus breeding resentment. For Londoners, the transitory nature of these individuals upended traditional conflict resolution strategies. I conclude that surname analysis can provide useful proxy evidence for historians upon which hypotheses can be generated, and theories can be tested. It is best suited to large textual corpora, and should always be supported by close reading, when possible.
Supervisor: McCarty, Willard; McBride, Ian Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.669586  DOI: Not available
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