Mr. Losty of Kildare County Ireland

Wife Unknown

Son Matthew J. Losty

Probably Son - John Losty

Total # of Children unknown



View all the Losty Family members and their in-laws on our Quick Links page


Special Thanks to our research team

Joan Losty Ellis - AR

Research Investigators
James M. Losty - MA

Sandra Losty - IE
Sharon L. Ellis - AR
Peter Losty - Belfast IE

Research Assistants
Thomas R. Losty MA
Theresa Losty Chagnon - MA
Shelley Losty Gingras - MA

Story Consultants
Florence LaPierre Losty - MA
Mary Losty Burgess - MA
Irene Losty Arnold - MA

Photo Historian
Susanne Noland Kelley - MA

Communication Coordinators
Michelle Rainville - MA
Pete Benoit - MA
Laura Zulli Losty - MA

Genealogy Consultants
John McDermot - IE
Marcel Benoit - CAN
Ed Eagan - MA
Kathleen Carrigan - NY
Jean Losty Vogt - NC

George Ladeau Jr. - MA

Sharon L. Ellis - AR




The Losty Family History
1700's to Present
Illustrated Narrative


Our story begins in the rolling farmlands of Kildare County Ireland. 

Throughout Kildare today, ruined monasteries, Round Towers, ancient villages and the magnificent CastleTown House of Celbridge remind the visitor of the area's rich heritage.

During the Late 1700's the family of Mr. Losty was living in Kildare County Ireland.   County Kildare is located in Leinster, part of the Great Central Plain, a region of rolling farmland on a limestone base, dominated by the 22 square miles of the Curagh Plain. Southwest Kildare is bound by the Wicklow mountains and two major rivers cut through Kildare soil. The river Liffey flows into Dublin, and the Barrow flows through Athy in the southern tip of the county. 

On or about the turn of the Century Mr. Losty, now married, welcomed the birth of his son Matthew J. Losty.  It is unknown, at this time, the names of Matthew J. Losty's siblings; however, there is a possibility John Losty of Kildare Ireland, whose children immigrated to the state of Connecticut and who frequently visited the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, is a brother to Matthew.  As we continue to gather clues and evidence, we will incorporate our findings into our story. Matthew's bride to be, Mary Jane (Unknown), was born in 1780 and it is the lives of  her two boys, John & Patrick which is told in the following narrative.  

Ireland 1739 - 1843

The famine that took the lives of so many Irish people began in 1739 and peaked in 1843. It is important to note there were many other issues the Irish were dealing with that influenced their decisions to leave but lack of food was at the top of the list. 

The use of the potato, in 1725, was so general in Ireland (at least in parts of the country) it served as the staple food poor families relied on for nearly the entire winter.  The first great destruction of the potato crop occurred in the winter of 1739. It was said the potato crop was destroyed in one night and 300,000 people perished of famine.  The people of Ireland were cautioned the following year against eating potatoes, which were believed to be diseased and likely to produce disease in them if they ingested it. This rhetoric caused fights to break out among Potato Farmers and the Market Gardeners.  The Market Gardeners were glorifying the destruction of the "foreign root" which had been brought into Ireland in 1600 by Sir Walter Raleigh.  

Between the years, 1765 and 1880, Mr. & Mrs. Losty, welcomed the birth of their son Matthew J. Losty.  During this time, the quantity of rain and excessive droughts during the summer months contributed to the curl and black rot diseases that were impacting the potato crops producing small potatoes in scarce numbers and in several years complete failures of the crops of potatoes and cabbages, specifically during the years 1765, 1770, 1795 and 1800. 

Note:  We do not have a date of birth or death on Matthew J. Losty, however, Matthew's wife, Mary Jane, was born in 1780 and we estimate Matthew's date of birth to be near that time.

In 1800, disease appeared in the potato stalks and the harvests were generally bad.  Great scarcity and distress succeeded.  The potato also failed in England that year and for some years afterward the curl injured many of the best varieties. In 1807 nearly one-half of the potato crops were destroyed by frost adding to the death toll among the poor. Matthew & Mary were about twenty seven years old during this year and most likely already married and welcoming the births of their children. 

Between 1809 and 1812, the curl disease reappeared causing partial failure to the crops. Then in 1816 the spring, summer and autumn seasons were late coming combined with the above average recorded rain fall resulted in a general failure of the potato crops in Ireland and England;  the stalk being chiefly affected. An account of this epidemic in England was given as follows:  

"...early in September, the potatoes were 'blackened and spoiled; they smell at a distance the same as after a frosty night late in October."   

Four years later, in 1820, a great quantity of snow fell during the end of the year. This accumulation produced remarkable terrestrial phenomena during the early months the following year; for instance, the 'moving bog'.  During May and June, of that year , the rain accumulated upon the surface of the land. Rivers and lakes swelled causing wide spread flooding over the face of the land and the rain continued to pour in torrents during November,  December and January the following year. The potato crop soured and rotted in the ground; and although a sufficiency was obtained in the dry and upland districts to support human life for some months, the potato reserves were exhausted early in the ensuing spring. Fortunately, these effects were not general throughout the kingdom, but occupied a district which might be defined by a line drawn from the the counties of Sligo and Leitrim, to the counties of Cork and Waterford including the whole western seaboard of Sligo, Mayo, Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry, and Cork; all of which were exposed to the full force of the Atlantic, the influence of which, though mild, is a constant source of moisture.  It was during these years that Matthew J. Losty and Mary Jane Losty welcomed the birth of their son John.

In 1825, although the seasons were mild, the preceding years had saturated the earth so much there was a partial failure of crops resulting in the rise of the price of potatoes. It was during this year that Matthew J. Losty and his wife Mary J. (unknown) welcomed the birth of their son Patrick Losty.  Their elder son John Losty was born prior to Patrick's birth but the exact year is unknown.  The names of Matthew & Mary's  other children are unknown at this time.

During the month of August 1829, Patrick and John were young boys, Patick was only  four.  The potato crops were beaten down that year by the heavy rains and severe storms. All the potatoes in the low grounds were covered in water, and remained under water for many weeks resulting in the lose of a great quantity of the potatoes.  "Violent storms and heavy rains brought upon another failure of the potato in 1830, with its usual accompaniment of famine and pestilence: but was principally confined to the coasts of Mayo, Galway, and Donegal on the west coast.  This blight was common to parts of America and to Germany, where it continued for two years. Then in the spring season of 1832, and for several seasons following in succession, an unmistakable epidemic attacked the potato throughout Ireland, and also extended to other parts of Europe and to America. The potato disease presented not only the appearance of the curl, but likewise attacked the tubers in the pits. The failure was chiefly observed in the early-planted potatoes, but having been discovered in spring; was, to a certain extent, remedied.  In 1836, which had been wet, and July and August unusually so; the price of food rose to an almost unparalleled height.

1839 was distinguished by an amount of moisture unparalleled to that of modern observations.  Part of 1840 was likewise characterized by excessive moisture, although there was less rain in 1840 than in the previous year, it came down at an unpropitious period resulting in the failure of the potato crop in Leinster and Munster two years in a row. Upon both occasions great distress followed. As mentioned earlier, Kildare County is located in Leinster.  

The potato disease prevailed to such a degree in Germany during this time as to threaten the total extinction of that esculent; and in the following year the crop was extensively affected there with a disease called 'dry gangrene.'  That same year in Ireland, excessive rains in August caused a partial destruction of crops that was widespread, especially in the south of Ireland. The year was cold and frosty although not specially characterized for its wetness, the number of days upon which rain fell was very great. As a result, the potato harvest of 1842 was injured by the inundation of the land.  By 1843 there were more fatalities to animal life than vegetable life and it is during this year Matthew J. Losty's wife (now widowed) and her son Patrick, now age 18, arrived in the United States.  

Continue reading our story



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