Finding an Irish Ancestor Using Canadian Records

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Notes on Immigration

The Irish emigration to Canada began as early as 1603 did not truly take root until 18th Century. By the turn of the 19th Century immediately following the Napoleonic Wars, immigration recommenced in earnest. Once the wars had ended in 1805, the governemnt restricted immigration from the United States and encouraged immigration from the British Isles and Ireland.  The most significant ports for North America included Grosse Ilse, City of Quebec, Montreal in the Province of Quebec, St. John's New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. From 1894, steamship and railroads advertized to potential immigrants to sail into Canadian ports, and then gain passage through U.S. ports of entries into the United States. Thus the St Albans, Vermont ship lists are a valuable record source for tracing many immigrants through Canadian ports of entry into the United States. 

Ports of embarkation and ports of call of Irish emigrants' included the Liverpool, Belfast, Waterford, Cork, Dublin, Southampton, Bristol, and London--time period depending.

Due to the English Crown government's austere laws, i.e. Penal Act of 1695, which drove many native Irishmen from their lands, and out onto the streets, caused many Irish families to emigrant. Catholic and Protestant families appear in Catholic and Protestant records throughout the United States. Irish emigrant names appear in many types of genealogical records. For an in-depth study on United States records which researchers should first seek in order to learn the specific place of birth or their [Irish origins], find and use the following records:


vital records - standard format of statutory certificates require&nbsp;parents’ names, specific place and date of birth&nbsp;

church -&nbsp;sometimes provide Irish place-name or parent names information

obituaries - may provide clarifying place-name of Irish origins, birth&nbsp;information

passenger lists - occasionally provide specific Ireland place-name

tombstones - may provide clarifying information on specific Ireland place of birth

naturalization - may provide at least the Ireland county name of origin

Other "indexed" original records may include:

census - in occasional instances may provide more than just "Ireland" as birthplace

local (county &amp; township) histories - sometimes provide birth information on emigrants

military - usually provide outstanding evidence of birthplace and sometimes parentage

deeds - in North Carolina, Maine and a few other regions may provide place of origin data<br> newspaper articles&nbsp;- may give&nbsp;personal accounts of tragedy, and more about&nbsp;immigrant ancestors

&nbsp;funeral home records, where available

biographies - especially documented, may provide parentage and birthplace information

&nbsp;merchant marine - give birthplace data<br>&nbsp;Social Security Death Index – Form SS-5—“Social Security Number Record Third Party Request for Photocopy” - birth<br>

How to Use This Page

The following records listed below&nbsp;may more quickly assist researchers in finding more about their Irish immigrant ancestors in the United States (see links).&nbsp;The "United States"&nbsp;Wiki and these sources listed here should be useful and helpful guides in research.

Military Records

For more indepth information on British Military for Ireland, try our wiki under England Military Records

For more indepth information on United States&nbsp;Military, try our wiki under United States Military Records

Many Irish came to the United States and later enlisted and&nbsp;joined the Army or Navy. Some Irishmen who served in the British Military establishment, left Great Britain to emigrate and some ended up&nbsp;serving in the Army of the United States.

Records of the Military:&nbsp; muster rolls,&nbsp;pay vouchers, pension files,&nbsp;rank commissions,&nbsp;biographical info, medical records, medal awards, courts martial, etc.&nbsp;

Online records&nbsp;<br> offers the following important records databases from U.S. Military sources:

1760: A few thousand Ulster (Protestant) Irish settled lands vacated by Acadians in Nova Scotia.

1815: After the close of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, many immigrants settled along the St. Lawrence River. Although many immigrants continued on to the United States, soon the "late Loyalists" were joined by many English, Scottish, and Irish settlers.

1815–1850:Greatest immigration was from Scotland and Ireland to Atlantic colonies. A few thousand came each year.

1818: The influx of Protestant Irish to Upper Canada began in earnest.

1830s: The great Irish immigration took place, especially to New Brunswick.

1846–1850s: During the Famine Migration from Ireland, tens of thousands settled farms and towns of Upper and Lower Canada.