21 January 2011

ONLINE GENEALOGY NEWS: CANADA GOES DIGITAL; CONNORS GENEALOGY

    I moderate an Irish genealogy group in the Philadelphia area. Most of the members' Irish ancestors settled in the New England or Mid Atlantic states. I have found that many researchers in my area assume that their Irish ancestors arrived at one of the east coast ports--Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York City, or Boston. When they run into a brick wall, I often ask whether they have looked at Canadian records. They usually give me a funny look and repeat, "My ancestors lived in Philadelphia, why would they have entered the US via Canada?"
     Especially in the 1800's, many Irish took the Canadian route, even if they were headed for an eastern US city. Many Irish immigrants took the Canadian route, then traveled east to New York City and eastern Pennsylvania. One set of my ancestors did so, and I have heard from other "East Coast" family historians who also discovered a Canadian connection. I've been told that passage rates were cheaper for the Canadian destinations. So, don't dismiss a Canadian port if you are running into a brick wall with your ship list search.
     The difficulty with searching ship lists in Canada is that so many of them are missing. However, if your ancestor received government welfare during their short stay in Canada, you may find records of the items received, which often included foodstuffs. Your ancestor might have stayed for a time in Canada, also.
     In the near future, researching Canadian records from the comfort of home will be easier. In December, the Library and Archives Canada announced its plan to "go digital." The announcement read:
     "OTTAWA, December 7, 2010 – Within the next seven years, Library and Archives Canada will put most of its services online, transforming the country’s leading memory institution into a fully engaged digital organization, just in time to celebrate Confederation’s 150th anniversary in 2017."
     In the meantime, the Archives already has many valuable genealogical resources online. Check them out via the links below.
     A reminder: Pat Connors continues to add new resources to her growing, multi-county database, "ConnorsGenealogy."  Her site is particularly valuable for its Tithe lists, and she has added quite a few more of those lists in the past couple of months.. The database also covers portions of New York state and Canada. See link below.
LINKS
CANADIAN ARCHIVES TO GO DIGITAL
LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES OF CANADA HOME PAGE
CONNORS GENEALOGY