Friday 13 January 2012

Emigrant ancestors in South Ontario?

FindMyPast Ireland has today released travel and migration papers that will be of interest to anyone whose Irish family history takes them to Southern Ontario, Canada.

For brevity, the collection has been given the working title of Canadian Emigration: 1826 Parliamentary papers. But the official title, though worded in typical civil servant style, actually gives a clearer indication of what is within: Return of the Assessed Value of the Townships in the Newcastle District in Western Canada, which were settled by Pauper Emigrants from Ireland, between the years 1825 and 1828 at the public expense: Of the number of various Emigration Societies formed in Canada in 1840, by Canadian Proprietors desirous of Settling Emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland upon their Estates. (1848).

This parliamentary paper publishes the correspondence and extensive supporting documents of the British government with the Governor-General of Canada concerning the settlement of poor Irish in the Newcastle District in 1826, or 'Mr. Robinson’s Emigrants' as they became known. This was the result of a Commons request for the publicly funded settlement.

Initially the Governor-General sent updated valuations of the relevant townships (Ashpodel, Douro, Dummer, Emily, Ennismore, Ops, Otonabee and Smith) which had since be designated as part of the District of Colbourne. But he subsequently sent a detailed breakdown for each plot settled by Irish paupers in 1826 by Peter Robinson. Typical entry details include:

  • Name of the 1826 settler
  • Number in the settler’s family
  • Lot number
  • Concession
  • Acreage
  • Number of acres cleared by 1847
  • Number of horses and horned cattle on the plot
  • Name of present occupants on lot
  • Relationship of occupants to settler
  • Other critical pieces of information

In total around 260 plots are covered, giving details of over 700 people.

It's a small record collection, but beautifully formed for those whose ancestors were among Mr Robinson's settlers.

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