Tracing the Famine Generation's Settlement in Ontario

The Canada Ireland Foundation is embarking upon a new project to trace the settlement and history of the large number of Irish who fled Ireland during the Great Famine.   We are looking for experienced genealogists to help us research about 1500 families who arrived in Ontario in 1847.  The families were identified using a little-known set of records at Library and Archives Canada called the Emigration Service Fund records.

These records are a remarkable source for information about the transportation throughout Ontario of immigrants, the majority of whom were Irish, from the principal ports of Lake Ontario in the mid-1840s. The records provide invaluable information about a critical period of Irish migration and settlement in Canada. While burial records have allowed us to understand who perished upon arrival in Canada, the Emigration Service Fund records allow us to trace those who survived and succeeded in Canada. In many respects, the records are an important missing link in the story of the Famine migration to Canada and are an exciting opportunity for the Canada Ireland Foundation to celebrate the lives of those Irish Famine migrants who survived the journey from Ireland and thrived in Ontario.

Want to volunteer to help us tell the story of the Irish in Ontario?

We are looking for experienced genealogists to help us research families identified in the Emigration Service Fund records. Volunteers will be assigned specific families to research.  Training will be provided on standardized formats for submitting information. Suggested lists of sources both online and in paper will also be provided and training in those resources if required. Genealogists with expertise and experience in searching Ontario-specific records will be particularly welcome.

Below, view our research team's recent presentation about this project to the Ontario Genealogical Society's Ireland Special Interest Group.