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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian:Immigration Records by Patricia McGregor, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Overview Of Immigration Groups And Resources By Province
Newfoundland and Labrador
The first settlers arrived in 1583. English merchants from the West Country dominated the island and deterred permanent settlement fearing that it would threaten their control of the fishing industry. As a result very little other settlement took place until the 1600s. Control of the island switched between Britain and France until 1763 when the French were finally defeated by the British. The first lists of residents were compiled by the French at Plaisance (Placentia). Both Newfoundland and Canada Archives have copies of these lists.
The Provincial Reference and Resource Library located in the Arts and Culture Centre, St. John’s NF, contains, among other resources, records of settlers 1654-1685, business records of early merchants as well as histories of various families.
- Provincial Archives
Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL)
9 Bonaventure Ave.
St. John’s, NL A1C 5P9
- Maritime History Archive
Henrietta Harvey Building
St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7
Collections relate to shipping, fisheries and commerce since 1600. There is a name file index of about 6,000 surnames developed from the late Dr. Keith Matthews’ research into fisheries and settlement from 1640-1840.
Prince Edward Island
There was no permanent settlement on the island until 1719. Before that, explorer Jacques Cartier had claimed it for France and Samuel de Champlain had named it Île St. Jean. Occasional early residents of the island were fishermen and traders. In the 1700s, ownership shifted back and forth between the French and British and by 1750 the bulk of the 2000 inhabitants were Acadians. In 1758 the British returned to the island for good and renamed it St. John Island. Many of the Acadians were sent to France or fled to Quebec except for the settlers at Malpeque. The Acadians of Malpeque are the ancestors of nearly all the Acadians on the island today. English and Scottish settlement began in the last half of the 18th century and in 1799 the colony was renamed Prince Edward Island. In 1803, three ships were chartered to bring 800 settlers to Prince Edward Island from Scotland. There was strong chain migration of Scots to PEI between 1815 and 1860, mainly because those already there sent favourable reports home. Between 1827 and 1833, the population increased from 23,000 to 32,000 people. PEI entered Confederation in 1873.
- “Emigration involves both push and pull factors. In otherwords, while the earliest Scots who came—those who arrived between 1770 and 1815—were more likely (or thought themselves to be) voluntary migrants, those who came later were much more likely to feel that they had little choice in the matter of leaving. Conditions in rural Scotland, particularly in the Highlands, seemed to worsen with each decade as the nineteenth century proceeded.” (MacKinnon 1997, 154)
Public Archives and Records Office
- Public Archives and Records Office
P.O. Box 1000
Charlottetown PE C1A 7M4
Some holdings include a Master Name Index, cemetery and census records, passenger lists and marriage details from newspapers.
Before the Treaty of Utrecht gave Nova Scotia to Great Britain in 1763, control of the area changed hands ten times. Initially, Nova Scotia included New Brunswick and PEI so keep this in mind when searching for records. PEI separated from Nova Scotia in 1769 as did New Brunswick in 1784. Nova Scotia joined Confederation in 1867. Samuel de Champlain began the first French settlement on an island in Passamoquoddy Bay and later moved to Port Royal which was renamed Annapolis Royal by the British. English and Scottish settlers established settlements in parts of Nova Scotia and what is now New Brunswick. A military post named Halifax was established in 1749. Edward Cornwallis, who was appointed Governor and Captain General, brought out over 2,500 colonists, mostly drawn from disbanded soldiers and sailors. In 1750, 300 German-speaking immigrants arrived at Halifax, and 1,000 more arrived in each of the following two years. Later, most of them were transported along with some French Protestants to Lunenburg. Three hundred settlers from the north of Ireland arrived in Halifax in 1761. In the early days of settlement the province was divided into counties and townships and township records contain a wealth of genealogical information. Many of these records are available at the Nova Scotia Archives.
Nova Scotia - Research My Roots ~ Genealogy
- Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management
6016 University Avenue
Halifax, NS B3H 1W4
In 1604 the French established a small colony on an island in the St. Croix River. After a very severe winter it was moved across the Bay of Fundy to Port Royal (Annapolis Royal). Throughout the 1600s many immigrants arrived from France as well as some from Britain and Portugal. The French named the area Acadia. A third of the population of present day New Brunswick is French speaking—most are descendants of the Acadians or settlers from Quebec.
From about 1760 many immigrants arrived from the New England colonies and New York as well as some Pennsylvania Germans. Settlement of the St. John Valley began in 1762 when land was offered to neighbouring New Englanders and disbanded military. Some of the expelled Acadians returned after 1763. While initially there was great interest in the land, there was little settlement and many grants were declared forfeit on arrival of the Loyalists. In 1774 several hundred farming families arrived from Yorkshire, England and they settled in the Chignecto area. They were followed by Scots into the Mirimichi area. Settlers from Cardigan and Carmarthen in Wales arrived in New Brunswick in 1818-19 and established the Cardigan settlement there. While there is no contemporary listing of original settlers, there is a list assembled from a number of sources in Thomas’ book: Strangers From a Secret Land, The Voyages of the Brig Albion and the Founding of the First Welsh Settlements in Canada. (pp 259-272).
New Brunswick entered Confederation in 1867.
Archives and Societies
- Provincial Archives
Richard Bennett Hatfield Archives Complex
Bonar Law - Bennett Building
23 Dineen Drive
Fredericton, NB Canada
In 1608 Samuel de Champlain established a trading post where Quebec City is today. The colony was named New France in 1663. As in other areas, the struggle between England and France for control of the area went on for many years, finally ending in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris, which gave all of New France to Britain.
In 1774 faced with continuing unrest among the French settlers, the British government passed the Quebec Act. This act allowed the colony to continue its feudal system of land tenure and keep its language, religion and customs. At this time New France stretched from the Atlantic to Niagara and Lake Superior. After the American War of Independence the area was split in two—the English speaking area became Upper Canada and the French became Lower Canada. After the rebellions of 1837 the two regions were rejoined, parliamentary government was put in place and Quebec became Canada East (CE for short). Many United Empire Loyalists settled in the south-western portion of the province near the borders of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Immigrants from Britain also settled in the Montreal area.
- “Benjamin Sulte, keenest of historians, in an analysis of the French Canadian population, showed that population to be for the most part descended from the settlers who came from France between the years 1633 and 1673. These originated in Northern and Central France, chiefly Normandy.” (Gibbon 1938, 20)
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (généalogie)
- Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (généalogie)
475, boul. De Maisonneuve Est
Montréal, QC H2L 5C4
- Centre de Conservation
2275 rue Holt
Montréal, QC H2G 3H1
Centres d’archives (Regional Centres)
- Centres d’archives du Bas-Saint-Laurent
et de la Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine
337, rue Moreault
Rimouski, QC G5L 1P4
Tél.: (418) 727-3500
- Centres d’archives du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
930, rue Jacques-Cartier Est
Chicoutimi, QC G7H 7K9
Tél.: (418) 698-3516
- Centres d’archives de la Mauricie et Centre-du-Québec
225, rue des Forges, bureau 208
Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 2G7
Tél.: (819) 371-6015
- Centres d’archives de l’Estrie
225,rue Frontenac, bureau 401
Sherbrooke, QC J1H 1K1
- Centres d’archives de Montréal
535, avenue Viger Est
Montréal, QC H2L 2P3
Tél.: (514) 873-1100, ophon 4
- Centres d’archives de l’Outaouais
855, boulevard de la Gappe
Gatineau, QC J8T 8H9
Tél.: (819) 568-8798
- Centres d’archives l’Abitibi-Témiscamingue et Nord-du-Québec
27, rue du Terminus Ouest
Rouyn-Noranda, QC J9X 2P3
Tél.: (819) 763-3484
- Centres d’archives de la Côte-Nord
700, boulevard Laure, Bureau 190
Sept-Îles, QC G4R 1Y1
Tél.: (418) 964-8434
- Centres d’archives de Québec
Campus de l’Université Laval
1055, avenue du Séminaire
Casse postale 10450, succursale Sainte-Foy
Québec, QC G1V 4N1
Tél: (418) 643-8904
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Immigration Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
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