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Jessie Evans Dugan collection of Doyle, Evans, and Persse family materials

Collection MS-2004-056: Jessie Evans Dugan collection of Doyle, Evans, and Persse family materials


  • Creation: 1843-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1843-1864

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the lives of Irish immigrants from the Doyle and Evans families. It consists of letters to Ellen Doyle and her daughter Mary Doyle Evans from relatives and their former employers, the Persse family. The collection includes the papers of Mary Doyle Evans's husband, Joseph Evans III. Additionally, there are materials collected and created by Jessie Evans Dugan, granddaughter of Mary Doyle Evans. Further research by historian James Charles Roy supplements Dugan's work. The research materials for both Dugan and Roy contain some original family materials, as well as family trees, newspaper clippings, research notes, and photographs of family papers and artifacts. Lastly, there are transcriptions of some of the family letters, prepared by Kerby Miller.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note: Doyle, Evans, and Persse Families

Ellen Curley Doyle, born in 1805, worked as a domestic servant along with her daughter, Mary, for the Burton Persse family at Moyode Castle in East Galway, Ireland. While employed at Moyode, Ellen became close friends with Matilda, Persse's second wife, and two of her children, Matilda (1827-1870) and Henrietta (1835-1886).

Mary Doyle married Joseph Evans III (1823-1897) in 1848 and immigrated to North America along with Evans's parents, to escape the bleak conditions of famine in Ireland. They settled in the Canadian frontier in present day Ontario Province.

In 1849, Ellen Doyle also left Ireland and settled with her family in Canada. Two years later, she visited her siblings, who had settled in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ellen and her daughter Mary continued to correspond with these geographically distant family members, particularly Ellen's niece, Mary Ann Curley Jenkins, and her nephew, I. J. O'Reilly, throughout the 1850s.

Ellen worked for the Persse family again briefly in 1854, when she was employed for six months in New York by Dudley Persse, a cousin of the Moyode Persses.

One of the children of Mary Doyle Evans and her husband was Edward Evans, who later married Sarah Thompson, daughter of Arthur Thompson and Catherine Stack. Edward and Sarah had six children, including Jessie Evans, who married John Dugan.

Mary Doyle Evans died in 1880 and her mother Ellen Doyle died in 1891.


Copy of marriage certificate of Arthur Thompson and Catherine Stack Marriage (August 6, 1851), 1927 July 31, Dugan collection of Doyle, Evans, and Persse family materials, MS.2004.056, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Roy, James Charles. "'I Prefer a Free Country' – Letters to and From County Galway Emigrants 1843-1856." Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society: Galway, 2004.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



This collection documents the Doyle, Evans, and Persse families, nineteenth-century immigrants to North America from County Galway, Ireland. Materials include correspondence, land deeds, naturalization papers, and military records. Family recollections, genealogies, and other research compiled by Jessie Evans Dugan and James Charles Roy is included.


Arranged into two series: I. Doyle and Evans family materials and II. Research.


Gift of Terence J. Dugan, son of Jessie Evans Dugan, in 2004.

Processing Information

This collection was titled "Jessie Evans Dugan Collection of Persse Family Irish Letters" until January 2010 when it was changed to the current title. This change was made to better reflect the contents of the collection.

Jessie Evans Dugan Collection of Doyle, Evans, and Persse Family Materials
1843-2004 (bulk 1843-1864)
Moira E. O'Connell, 2004; revised by AnneMarie Anderson, 2010; revised by Ray Hartley and Stephanie Hall
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States