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Long shot at finding someone in Ireland

My great grandmother, Fanny Patrick, shows up in the 1871 census as a single woman, age 26, living as a lodger and working as a domestic servant in Ashton Under Lyne, Cheshire. The census fails to mention that she was 8 months pregnant at the time! The census lists her birthplace as Sheffield, but dimly remembered family whispers would suggest that she was actually an Irish immigrant who quite possibly left Ireland because of her pregnancy and therefore the Sheffield birth would be a fabrication. There is not a whisper of her prior to that 1871 entry in any on-line source I can find.

So my question is, if indeed she did immigrate from Ireland sometime around 1870, is there the remotest possibility of somehow tracing her to Ireland knowing nothing but her name (we have to assume that is correct!) and her possible birth year? I realize it has to be a long shot and would involve real-world leg work, but I'm wondering whether there are places that might have information or whether I should simply consider this a dead-end period.

- Valerie

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