This article explores how Ulster Irish families, particularly those involved in the transatlantic linen trade, endured the chronic poverty of early eighteenth-century Ireland. Using the Galphin family, a poor linen-weaving household in Co. Armagh -- as a case study, this article examines how Ulster families developed extensive kinship networks, both real and fictive, to ameliorate their colonial circumstances within the British Empire. Further, the familial and non-familial relationships that comprised these interpersonal networks suffused if not permeated the transatlantic lanes of Irish linen and, ultimately, Irish immigration to North America. Altogether, then, this article demonstrates the central importance that personal relationships between family members, friends, and neighbors played in the lives of ordinary linen family households in the early eighteenth-century, and how these webs of relationships intersected with larger historical phenomenon like empire-building, transatlantic commerce, and immigration.


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pp. 128-143
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