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Re: Irish immigration to Eagle Lake during famine yrs.
Posted by: Felix Unger Date: January 29, 2002 at 15:39:40
In Reply to: Irish immigration to Eagle Lake during famine yrs. by Rob Brown of 779

It's fair to say that "zillions" of Irish people escaped their homeland during the famine years, and many ended up in New Brunswick - among all the other places they settled.

When the famine started in Ireland about 1842-3, there were about 4-5 million people living there. The effects of the famine itself were the loss (deaths) of about 1 million, and another 1 million emigrated because of the threat of starvation. Land was held by a few (often living in absentia in England) and Irish farmers had no ownership of the land they worked, so they had no choice but to pick up and move. If you look at the current population of the USA (281 million), this would equal the loss of 125 million people by starvation or emigration. This was 45% of the total population of Ireland. And all because of a blight that hit the one food crop they survived on.

When the Irish sailed from ports like Dublin or Belfast, or sometimes other places like Galway, Cork, or Liverpool, the main port of arrival in northern North America was Québec. On the way, ships sometimes stopped for fresh water and supplies at places like St. John's, Nfld, Sydney in Cape Breton, NS, or Newcastle, Northumberland Co, NB. The poor wretches who had spent months on board the so-called 'death ships' or 'coffin ships' often felt they had a better chance to survive if they made an escape. Whole families sometimes died on the way over from thyphus, cholera, diphtheria, etc. Women who gave birth on board these ships often risked their lives as well as their newborn's. So any chance to get back on 'terra firma' was taken. Captains of the vessels did not object to losing a few of the miserable cargo they were carrying.

Northumberland County, NB has many histories of the Irish settlements there. As you said, it was a natural migration pattern for people to move from there toward Maine and other locations in following generations.

Iles-de-la Madeleine (Magdalen Islands)

Tom MacPhail - - has names in his McPhail history of the Magdalene Islands. Alexander McPhail, also found as James Alexander McPhail, supposedly was Secretary of the Royal Navy and came to Canada along with three brothers. A sister was married to a Thompson in Halifax. Alexander probably sailed from Tobermory, Isle of Mull. He settled in Shelburne, Nova Scotia and married ALICE GOODWIN, daughter of Nicholas Goodwin and Elsie Pierce of Shelburne. His son Robert said his parents later moved to the Magdalen Islands on June 15 1827.

Bonaventure Island

Bonaventure Island in Quebec had family names like Wall, Maloney, Beaker/Blondin, Morrissey, Maloney, Mahony, Mauger, and Lamb in the 1790's and perhaps earlier.

Try some of the following info sources:

Until 1785, New Brunswick was part of Nova Scotia (it was all known as "Acadie" [Acadia] under the French between 1600 and 1750). Cumberland County, NS extended all the way to the border of Maine (itself still part of Massachusetts until 1820). In 1765 the English created Sunbury County out of Cumberland County, NS, and created the border between the two at what is now the NS-NB borderline. From 1765 to 1785 Sunbury County, NS, took in what is now all of southern and central New Brunswick to the Maine border, including that part of Washington County, ME, to Machias. The Maine portion was relinquished by England to the new USA.

New Brunswick's 8 original counties created in 1785 (when it was separated from Nova Scotia) were: Saint John, Charlotte, Kings, Queens, Sunbury, Westmorland, and also York and Northumberland which together occupied about 70% of the total land area of NB. By 1873, 88 years later, there were 15 counties in NB. Northumberland was sub-divided in 1826 into Kent and Gloucester, and Restigouche [REST-ah-goosh] was created out of Gloucester in 1837. York County was divided into Carleton (1832) and Victoria (1844). Albert County was created from Westmorland in 1845. In 1873 Madawaska [mad-ah-WAH-ska] was sub-divided from Victoria.

NB consolidated most provincial records at the capital city, Fredericton, in the late 1960's. Former counties and their county seats (where records were kept) are: Albert (Hopewell Cape), Carleton (Woodstock), Charlotte (St. Andrews), Gloucester (Bathurst), Kent (Richibucto), Kings (Hampton), Madawaska (Edmundston), Northumberland (now Miramichi City, was Newcastle), Queens (Gagetown), Restigouche (Dalhousie), Saint John (Saint John), Sunbury (Burton), Victoria (Perth), Westmorland (Dorchester), and York (Fredericton).

New Brunswick Provincial Archives - - go to the NB county you are researching, and you will have the records the archives have (and can lend) on this county, including birth, marriages, marriage bonds, deaths, probate records, wills, etc. Contact your local library and ask them if they can order the microfilms from the NB archives. This site also has LINKS to:

National Archives of Canada
Canadian Archival Resources on the Internet
The Genealogy Home Page
Canadian Heritage Gallery
The National Archives of Ireland
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
Public Record Office (UK)

In the Miramichi Region (Northumberland, Kent, and Gloucester County), Roxanne L. Leadlay is a member of the NB Genealogical Association. Check out the newspaper, guestbook and "Gateway" genealogical forum at - - (this may be somewhat awkward to access).

Website for Kent County, NB - - has cemetery listings in Harcourt, Richibucto and Weldford Parishes. Pre-1826 records for Kent County may be included with the (original) Northumberland County records.

Bathurst is in Gloucester County, New Brunswick. The Genweb site address for that county is:
- - Pre-1826 records for Gloucester and Restigouche County may be included with the (original) Northumberland County records.

- - Carleton County, NB - RILEY and GOULDEN were among the founding families of Johnville, Carleton County, New Brunswick, Canada. "A history of Johnville: An Honourable Independence" can be purchased for $25ºº (Canadian) from Mary McDevitt, Diocese of Saint John Archives, 1 Bayard Dr., Saint John, N.B., CANADA E2L 3L5. - -

- - You can now search online in New Brunswick for parents and births of their children.

The New Brunswick census records are available for purchase or on-line, as follows:

For printed transcriptions, see the publications page - - on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick site and click on the PUBLICATIONS pdf file. It has a thorough list of transcriptions, mainly for 1851 and 1861 and done by county, with prices and ordering information.

There are many on-line transcriptions for individual parishes and counties, but no single transcription for the whole province in a given year. For individual transcriptions, see the census records page on the NB Gen Links site - - and click either on the appropriate county or use the search feature. If you have no luck there, go to the NB GenWeb page - - and click on the appropriate county.

New Brunswick, Canada - Birth Look-Up - - For Archives inquires please call (506) 453-2122 or send e-mail - -

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick at:
CIVIC ADDRESS: Bonar Law - Bennett Building, 23 Dineen Drive, U.N.B. Campus, Fredericton, N.B. E3B 5H1

MAILING ADDRESS: New Brunswick Provincial Archives, PO Box 6000, Fredericton, NB, CANADA E3B 5H1

Ms. Alice Garner
Registrar General
Department of Health and Wellness
Centennial Building
435 King Street P.O. Box 6000
Fredericton, New Brunswick,
Tel: (506) 453-2385 Fax: (506) 444-4139

1999 Fees (in Canadian $):
Birth: Small - $20ºº; Large - $25ºº
Marriage: Small - $20ºº; Large - $25ºº
Death: $25ºº; Cheque or Money Order to "Minister of Finance"

They also have an "Irish Famine Database" as well as Hutchinson and Lovell Directories. It's an excellent site if you have ancestors from New Brunswick.

The National Archives of Canada in Ottawa have the following census records for Quebec: 1666-1681 (N); 1825, 1831, 1842 (HF);1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 (N). HF means they only list the head of the household, N means they list other people living there by name as well. They also have land petitions from 1764-1867.

NOTE: A census was not taken in 1841 but rather in 1842. It lists only the head of the house. There are 4 rolls of film for Ontario and 9 rolls of film available for Québec. These are listed in the LDS Family History Catalog.

The 1851 census was actually done in Jan./Feb. 1852 so birth dates can be calculated from 1851. The birth dates in this census are not always accurate because many of the enumerators were semi-literate. THIS WOULD BE THE FIRST CENSUS SHOWING IRISH FAMINE ARRIVALS FROM THE 1840'S.

Grosse Île - 1840's Quarantine Island

Grosse Île - - is now a national park and they are publishing death and immigration records covering the quarantine period. Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site commemorates the importance of immigration to Canada, particularly via the port of entry of Québec, from the early 19th century to the First World War. Grosse Île also commemorates the tragic events experienced by the Irish immigrants on this site, primarily during the typhoid epidemic of 1847. The commemoration on this site is also based on the role the island played from 1832-1937 as a quarantine station for the Port of Québec, long the main port of arrival for immigrants to Canada. Finally, Grosse Île bears witness to the work of Dr. Frédérick Montizambert in the field of preventive medicine and public health in Canada. Grosse Île is found just offshore from Montmagny, on the south shore of the St Lawrence River.

A few of the many books about the Famine Years are:

"1847 Famine Ship Diary: The Journey of an Irish Coffin Ship" by Robert Whyte - Edited by James Mangan, Mercier Press, Cork and Dublin - ISBN 1-85635-091-6 - A voyage from Dublin on the "Ajax" as recorded by one of the passengers. Over 100,000 people from Ireland sailed in the 1840's up the St. Lawrence River and first landed at Grosse Île, Québec, where many were laid to their eternal rest, victims of cholera, typhus, and dysentery.

"The Irish Famine: an Illustrated History" by Helen Litton, Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1994 (reprinted 1995, 1996, 1998), ISBN 0-86327-427-7, or in the USA Irish Books and Media, Inc. 1433 Franklin Avenue East, Minneapolis, MN 55404-2135.

"The Great Hunger: Ireland 1845-1849" by Cecil Woodham-Smith (female), Penguin Books Ltd, London, New York, Toronto, Victoria (Aus.) and Auckland, first publ 1962, ISBN 0-14-014515-X.

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