Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank

Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank


Marilyn J. Breakey

© 2007



It has been estimated that some two million Irish emigrants fled Ireland between the years 1845 and 1860 as a result of   the horrendous famine suffered by that country.  Although thousands   arrived at the port of New York City   during those years, many Irish immigrants had previously arrived at the same Atlantic port well before then.   Aware of   deplorable conditions aboard the so called coffin ships, as well as the runners who would meet the new immigrants, charge outrageous fees for finding pre-arranged housing, jobs and bank services, those earlier Irish immigrants in America were instrumental in supporting the Irish Emigrant Society1, and its outgrowth, the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank.


Chartered   by New York State in 1850, and   located in Manhattan on the “north side of Chambers Street nearly midway between Broadway and Elk Street   … the bank provided easy transfer of funds between New York and Emigrant’s branch offices in Dublin.”2 In this manner new arrivals to America were able to send funds home to relatives in Ireland.


The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank kept extensive   records of accounts in various forms – Index Books, Test Books, Transfer, Signature, and Test Books, Deposit-Account Ledger Books - and today a database of indexes to those records is housed in The New York Public Library3. These records often provide names of depositors with account numbers, year and place of birth and other   personal information of value to the family genealogist


The following data, as found in my notes, were taken from research funded by the author during an extensive research foray with a well-known online genealogical entity. Although Breakey surnames were sparse, they are included here due to the parental surname connection with Ireland, in particular County Monaghan, and the city of Dublin.4


*  *  *  *


Item One:


Margaret Breakey

Account Number: 105723

Address:  W 20th NW 6th Ave, Bayonne, New Jersey

Record Type:  Transfer, Signature, and Test Books

Transaction Dates: 21 November 1874

Occupation: Domestic

Birth Year: 1834

Birth Country:  Ireland

Other Birth Location:  Monaghan

Relations: sister Mary B (illegible; see item two)

Arrived America on ship La Grange

Father Andrew; Mother Anna McBurney


[Margaret J. Breakey is also noted with the same account number, but appears only in the Index Book].


Item Two:


Mary Blake

Account Number: 105723

Address:  w 20th NW 6th Ave, Bayonne, New Jersey

Record Type:  Transfer, Signature, and Test Books

Transaction Dates: 21 November 1874

Birth Year: 1853

Birth Country: Ireland

Other Birth Location: Monaghan

Arrived America on ship La Grange

Husband: John, (nee) Breakey



[Author’s note:  no transaction shown in account 105723].


Item Three


Catherine Breakey

Record Type: Index Book


[Author’s note: no further documentation appears   in my notes].


Item Four


[Author’s note:  the following two entries refer to the same account number although there is a discrepancy in the individual’s name, most particularly the middle initial.  Consequently   I will include data as I found such following each entry from the records].


Geo. F. Beakey (sic)

Account Number: 6834

Record Type: Index Book


George T. Beakey (sic)

Account Number 6834

Record Type: Test Books

Transaction Date: 12 April 1854

Occupation: Painter

Residence: Houston St. [most probably Manhattan]

Birth Year: 1812

Birth Country: Ireland

Other Birth Location: City of Dublin

Arrived   America on ship Erin from Dublin

Parents: father, James; mother Margaret White; parents’   deceased

Other remarks:  is a widower with 3 children: James, Margaret, Anne


George T. Brakey

Account Number 6834

Record Type: Deposit-Account Ledger


[Author’s note:  Documentation for this entry was confusing to account for   chronologically for various reasons:]

·         At one point George T. Beakey (sic) is shown residing at 120 So 6th St., Brooklyn, NY.  Occupation – painter; Nativity –Ireland; and a widower.

·         It appears from my notes that the original account number may have been 18506, but was amended in later years to account number   6834, for vice versa.

·         Under the record for George T Brakey on   12   April 1854 there was shown a balance of $120.00 in the account.  In early May 1855 there was a balance of $360.00, but a week later the balance is shown as $123.60.

·         Under the record for Geo. F. Beakey (sic)    on 12 April 1854 there was shown a balance of $120.00, a transaction of $360.00 at some point resulting in a balance of $123.60.  There were no further indications of when this account was closed.


*  *  *  *


            The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank is now a designated New York City Landmark (Fletcher).

*  *  *  *


Recommended Readings


Stern, William J. “ How Dagger John Saved New York’s Irish.”  City Journal. © The Manhattan Institute (no date.)  This can be found online via http://www.city-journal.org and entering the article title in the ‘search’ window.



 For a complete   history of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, see http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Emigrant-Savings-Bank-Company-History.html


McVetty, C.G., Suzanne. “Using the Records of the Emigrant Savings Bank.” The NYG&B Newsletter, Winter 1998. This article may be found online via



For an appreciation of the architecture of the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank:  Fletcher, Tom. “New York Architecture Images & Notes”.  This article may be found online via 



1Instrumental in the formation of the Irish Emigrant Society was John Joseph Hughes, born   of humble origins in 1797 in County Tyrone, Ireland.  Joining his   family in the United States in 1817, he was later educated   for   the Catholic ministry in Emmitsburg, Maryland, after “working his way as gardener and then as teacher” (http://www.catholic-forum.com).   In 1838 Hughes   was consecrated   bishop and became coadjutor to the Bishop of New York, later becoming bishop in 1842; in 1850 Hughes   became the first archbishop of New York. [Author’s note:  For further information regarding Archbishop Hughes’ concerns for social issues, see ‘Recommended Readings’ at the conclusion of this manuscript.]

2 Tom Fletcher’s “New York Architecture Images & Notes” in http://www.nyc-architecture.com.  Click on the entry for SOHO and image 027.

3 For further information, see http://www.nypl.org/databases/index.cfm?act=3&id=914m

4 Source Information: Ancestry.com.  New York Emigrant Savings Bank, 1850-1883 [database online].  Provo, Utah: MyFamily.com, Inc., 2005.  Original data:  Emigrant Savings Bank. Emigrant Savings Bank Records.   Call number *R-USLHG *ZI-815, Rolls 1 – 20. New York Public Library, New York, New York.