Tuesday 6 September 2022

Irish emigration to Newfoundland collection, 1765-1835, now online

Taoiseach Miche├íl Martin TD was in Cork City Hall today to launch The Mannion Collection project. The project has resulted in a dedicated website – www.mannioncollection.ca – holding the digitised version of extensive records held by Dr John Mannion, retired Galway-born Professor of Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and his wife and research partner, Maura, reflecting their lifetimes' work on Irish emigration to, and settlement in Newfoundland.

Now available on a free to access online portal for the first time, the collection holds extensive information on the largest single migration from a small confined geographical area – that of Southeast Ireland – to another small confined geographical area in Newfoundland.

The project was jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade and the Provincial Government of Newfoundland & Labrador and contains almost 160,000 records of individuals and families who migrated from South-East Ireland and settled in Newfoundland, primarily in the years 1765 - 1835.

Speaking at today's launch An Taoiseach said: “I was delighted to be asked to officiate at this launch which expresses the spirit of the second sentence of Article 2 of our Constitution, revised as part of the Good Friday Agreement, that now reads: ''... the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

"Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed the examples of genealogy and that ‘completion of the circle’ of information which this dataset allows. We are seeing names and details and information here that will go a long way in strengthening relations and cultural ties between our two islands, and that can only be a positive thing.”

The Cork launch was hosted by Waterford based group Ireland-Newfoundland Connections, who since 2005, along with its Canadian counterpart, Newfoundland and Labrador Irish Connections, has operated annual cultural and social gatherings in both places, alternating between South-East Ireland and the Irish heritage areas of Newfoundland, with over 60 communities in Ireland and 40 in Newfoundland and over 1,000 participants taking part so far.

The chairman of Newfoundland-Labrador Irish Connections, Councillor Ralph Tapper, said the value of this record set cannot be underestimated. "These are records from pre-Famine times that simply don’t exist elsewhere and are now available for researchers at home and abroad to fill in the gaps in their family history.”

The digitisation work was carried out by dedicated technical staff at the Newfoundland and Labrador Statistics Agency in St. John’s, the NL Government’s central statistics agency. The project was co-managed and led by the Agency and Memorial University’s Dr Sean Cadigan, with collaboration and support of the NL Irish Connections and Irish Newfoundland Connections groups.