The Shamrock and the Fleur-de-Lys

Black and White photograph of a crowd beneath a stone monument with a large Celtic cross.003: The Shamrock and the Fleur-de-Lys
June 22, 2012
 
Listen Now [32.1 MB, length: 38:04]
 
​In this episode, we consult a panel of experts about the massive immigration of Irish settlers to Quebec in the 1800s, the journey they undertook to establish their new lives on foreign soil, and the cultural bond that formed between the Irish and the Québécois.

 
Subscribe with RSS or iTunes to automatically receive new episodes regularly.
RSS Icon RSS   iTunes Icon iTunes

Related Links:
 

Email questions and feedback to: BAC.Balados-Podcasts.LAC@canada.ca

Podcast Transcript

The Shamrock and the Fleur-de-Lys

Angèle Alain: Welcome to Discover Library and Archives Canada: Your History, Your Documentary Heritage. I’m your host, Angèle Alain. Join us as we showcase treasures from our digital collections; guide you through our many services; and introduce you to the people who acquire, safeguard and make known Canada’s documentary heritage.

The podcast you are about to listen to is about Irish immigration, a topic that LAC has several useful resources for should you wish to learn more.
 
The resources include three databases that you will find on our website. One of them is about the immigrants at the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station. The other two are entitled “Immigrants to Canada” and “Montreal Emigrant Society Passage Book (1832).” The title of the latter is in English only, with no French equivalent. All other material in the databases is bilingual.

Thousands of documents and materials of all kinds are accessible through our website. These tools illustrate LAC’s objective to provide more Canadians with access to digital content related to Canadian heritage.

We also invite you to discover our “Immigration Heritage Online Kits”, which provide easy and direct access to digital content related to immigration. Each kit contains information specific to an ethno-cultural community group, allowing you to access photographs, art, texts, music, and any other material available and associated with that group.

For more information on the genealogical research you can do at LAC, consult our website at www.bac-lac.gc.ca. On the Home page, select Genealogy and Family History, then click on What to Search: Topics, then Ethno-cultural and Aboriginal Groups, then Irish.

On that note, enjoy the podcast!

More and more Canadians are dedicating time to researching and building their family trees. In the process, they are unlocking the mysteries of how their families came to settle in Canada.

Many of us discover that we have Irish roots in our lineage, and that our ancestors began their lives in Canada at the Port of Québec. The 19th century witnessed the immigration of millions of people to Canadian soil—including a strong Irish presence. Of the huge numbers of Irish immigrants that arrived in Canada, many remained in Quebec and came to call it home, while for others who arrived in poor health, it became their final resting place.
 
In this episode, we consult a panel of experts about the massive immigration of Irish settlers to Quebec in the 1800s, the harrowing journey they undertook to establish their new lives on foreign soil, and the enduring cultural bond that formed between the Irish and French in Quebec.

AA: Today we’re talking with Manager Sylvie Tremblay. A professional genealogist by trade, Sylvie brings numerous years of experience in family history research to Library and Archives Canada. Sylvie introduces us to the Irish immigrant experience in Quebec and how we can learn more using resources at Library and Archives Canada.

AA: We know that the 19th century was a time of mass immigration to Canada. But what do we really know about the Irish? Why did so many of them come here?

Sylvie Tremblay: ​It is estimated that roughly 1.2 million Irish came to Canada from 1825 to 1970. But half of that number, that is 600,000 people, arrived from 1831 to 1850. We know that the Irish were the second-largest ethnic group in the early 20th century. And today, based on the 2006 Census figures, it is Canada's fourth-largest ethnic group.
 
For example, in 1847—the year of the Great Irish Famine—90,000 people arrived at the Port of Québec. They came for the same reasons as other immigrants, in search of better living conditions and wanting to build a better life for themselves. For some, it was an adventure—the adventure of something new; for the Irish, it was really because of the poor living conditions in Ireland and the lack of arable land. And there was the famous Great Famine. So really, those people were poor . . .

AA: And probably desperate?

ST:
Desperate. They came here, to Canada, in hope of a better life. Living conditions were difficult when they arrived, but what made the difference in Canada were the so-called charities for immigrants—wealthy people who were prepared to help them out, supporting them financially during their first years in Canada.

AA:
Let’s say I'm Irish and I arrive here in the 19th century. What happens to me?

ST:
Well, you get here, but you’re sick.

AA:
Okay.

ST:
Because for immigrants in the 19th century, especially the Irish and people from the British Isles . . . It's important to understand that there was a lot of logging activity in Canada in the 19th century. Canada supplied Europe with wood for shipbuilding. So in Canada, there was a lot of logging and vessels laden with logs were sent to Europe—vessels that had to return to Canada . . . 

AA:
With people . . .

ST:
With people. Immigrants, poor immigrants, were essentially used as human ballast in the boats to add weight. And we are not talking passenger ships, nice passenger ships with cabins and so on. They were really . . .

AA:
First class, second class . . .

ST:
There weren’t any classes to speak of.

AA:
Right.

ST:
Everyone was crammed into in the ship’s hold.

AA:
Okay.

ST:
Just imagine what the travel conditions were like; it was awful! It was a breeding ground for disease.

AA:
And I imagine it took many weeks to get to their destination?

ST:
Usually, a crossing in a sailing vessel—because there were still no steamships in the 1850s—a sailing journey took six to eight weeks in good conditions. [People were faced with] overcrowded conditions that . . .

AA:
There were no toilets.

ST:
No, there were no toilets. Everyone lived together, and it was . . . We can see why people got sick.

AA:
Yes.

ST:
We know, for example, that 1847 was unusual because there was also a typhus epidemic. In 1847, we know that of the 90,000 or so people who arrived at the Port of Québec, 17,000 died. That’s almost 20% of all the immigrants who died when they arrived in the city of Québec. That’s a huge number, and it really shows what travel conditions were like.

AA:
Did the immigrants travel straight to the Port of Québec?

ST:
Until 1832, when people arrived in the province of Quebec (or the city of Québec), they came through the Port of Québec. They were housed in the barracks of Québec’s Lower Town, after which they often continued further inland. Many decided to stay in the province of Québec for religious reasons. Most Irish immigrants were Catholic, and French-speaking Canadians in Quebec were . . .

AA:
. . . Catholic.

ST:
Catholic traditions, Catholic religion . . . Religion was an important part of everyday life. So because of those religious affinities, many Irish immigrants decided to stay in Quebec. Up until around 1825 1826, the city of Québec was able to absorb the influx of immigrants. However, cholera, a highly infectious disease, surfaced in India in 1826. The disease began to spread and reached Europe by the 1830s. City of Québec authorities knew that cholera was coming, and they suspected the disease would . . .

AA:
. . . Arrive by boat.

ST:
. . . Arrive in North America at some point. They feared that the epidemic would spread amongst the city's regular citizens. So, to prevent fatalities and stave off the disease or an epidemic, it was decided it would be a good idea to set up a quarantine station. On the St. Lawrence River, upstream of Québec, there are several islands, including Grosse Île, which at that time was private property. It belonged to Louis Bernier, a notary, and the government reclaimed it to make it a quarantine station managed by the military.

AA:
Parks Canada representative Jo-Anick Proulx joins us from Québec City. Mr. Proulx works at Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historical Site of Canada. Today, he shares with us some history of the island, its significance, and why it is an important Irish symbol.

Jo-Anick Proulx:
The Grosse Île quarantine station was in operation from 1832 to 1937. It was the quarantine station for the Port of Québec. At that time, during that century of immigration, the Port of Québec was the main point of entry into Canada. It was even one of the five largest ports in the world, given its high level of shipbuilding activity. Many European immigrants were heading to the Port of Québec, and some may have been carriers of contagious diseases. Therefore, starting in 1832, British authorities decided to open a quarantine station for ships before they arrived at the Port of Québec. Grosse Île is 48 kilometres downstream from Québec, and ships had to go by it on their way to port. As a result, the facilities for a quarantine station were set up on that island and improved considerably over the years to keep pace with medical discoveries, technological advances, types of immigrants and the diseases diagnosed on board the ships.

AA:
Okay. So there really is a difference between the Port of Québec and Grosse Île?

JP:
There is a fundamental difference. It is important to put Grosse Île in perspective compared to the Port of Québec. As I said, the Port of Québec was the final destination for immigrants. It was there that they would register at the customs office and the immigration office, whereas Grosse Île was more like an island hospital.

AA:
Could you tell us a bit about what life on Grosse Île would have been like?

JP:
Actually, we need to understand that there were two realities on Grosse Île. I would say that there was the reality of the quarantine station employees, and the reality of the families. Starting in the 1870s, there was a permanent town, even during the winter months, where the residents—the people employed at the quarantine station—could stay with their families. As for the everyday reality on Grosse Île, you have to imagine that there were the doctors and nurses who provided different kinds of medical treatment and diagnoses and performed health inspections—because even the healthy people had to undergo a medical examination twice a day to ensure they did not develop an illness during their stay at the quarantine station.

The buildings for the healthy people were located on Grosse Île’s western sector. At one time, these buildings were the so-called "immigrant sheds," buildings on wooden stilts that temporarily housed the healthy people. These evolved in line with transportation trends, with the construction of first-, second- and third-class hotels, disinfection buildings, a bakery and a summer kitchen for the immigrants who had access to those buildings. On the far east side of Grosse Île was the hospital sector—hospitals for treating the sick, with laundries and all of the related services, such as an apothecary and so forth. And in between these two sectors of the island, separated by fences, was the town of the station employees, with their residences and chapels: one Anglican, and one Catholic. There were also the employee gardens and what was referred to as the residence for the friends of the sick: a kind of buffer area where families who were separated—oftentimes, for example, the father would be healthy and the mother sick, and the children would be placed with the mother, regardless of whether they were sick or healthy—where those families could meet in a neutral and healthy place, called the sanatorium or the residence for the friends of the sick.

In 1832, Grosse Île was chosen as the location to open a quarantine station because there was only one tenant on the island. It was part of the Seigneury of Montmagny, so only one family had to leave when the land was expropriated. Physically, the island has bays that create a peninsula, which naturally isolated the western sector from the rest of Grosse Île.

ST:
So, starting in the summer of 1832, ships were told they had to stop at Grosse Île for inspection, and the sick were kept there.

AA:
So not everyone had to stay on Grosse Île.

ST:
No, no.

AA:
Okay.

ST:
The ships stopped and the sick remained on Grosse Île with their families. That means that if a child was sick, the parents stayed with him or her, even if they were healthy.

AA:
That makes sense, doesn't it?

ST:
Absolutely.

AA:
Yes, yes.

ST:
Once people recovered, they could continue their journey to Québec in boats; actually, they were probably more like small sailboats . . .

AA:
They got on, they got off . . .

ST:
They got on, they got off. And the boats really had to stop! If a boat decided not to stop because it had too many sick people on board, it was chased down and the military had the power to take action and forcibly bring the boat back to Grosse Île. Despite setting up a quarantine station in 1832, the cholera epidemic also spread to the city of Québec and then throughout North America because cholera is very hard to detect. Sometimes, they thought people were healthy. But they had still been in contact with other immigrants for six to eight weeks. Some were more resistant to the disease, and while they may not have been ill . . .

AA:
. . . They were carriers.

ST:
They were carriers.

JP:
In 1847, during the Great Irish Famine, all immigrants had to disembark at Grosse Île, especially those who had typhus; everyone, sick or healthy, got off at Grosse Île.

AA:
I'm curious about something. When a boat stopped at Grosse Île, did everyone have to disembark? Later, when they let those who were healthy continue their journey, did everyone have to get off or did the doctors board the ship to perform their inspections?

JP:
The procedure was always the same, regardless of the period. The ship was required to stop at Grosse Île. There was therefore visual communication, either via semaphore signalling at one time, or later using the telegraph system. The ship was told to stop and then, as you said, the medical team would go aboard and ask the captain some questions, such as “How many passengers do you have on board?” “How long have you been at sea?” “Are there any cases of illness on board?” “Did you have to throw any bodies overboard?” (Because once the ship entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence, captains were prohibited by law from throwing bodies overboard the way they could in the Atlantic. Any deceased immigrants had to be kept on board and would subsequently be buried on Grosse Île.) So the medical team would board the ship, ask the captain some questions and then perform visual inspections using different methods. At this point, the sick people were separated from the healthy ones. There were two docks at Grosse Île: one for healthy immigrants and one for sick immigrants.

In 1847, some 100,000 immigrants arrived at Grosse Île. Of these, 95% were Irish—people fleeing the Great Irish Famine and who were already weakened by that famine when they left Ireland. On board the ships, typhus, also known as "ship fever," developed, and most of the immigrants arriving at Grosse Île that year were infected. It is estimated that the death rate in 1847 was 15%. In other words, of the 100,000 immigrants arriving at Grosse Île, roughly 5,000 people were thrown overboard before entering the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In addition, a total of 5,424 people—some of whom had died on board the ships—were buried on Grosse Île. Others died on the island and were buried in one of the mass graves in the western cemetery. Some people initially diagnosed as healthy developed the disease a little later or when they arrived at the Port of Québec. It is estimated that approximately 5,000 people died in Québec, Montréal and Kingston (the main destinations).
The 1847 death rate of 15% is therefore unusually high. If we compare that year with other years, we can see that there were 5,424 people buried on the island in 1847 alone, whereas in the 105 years that Grosse Île was used as a quarantine station, there were 7,553 burials in total. That means that roughly five out of seven people in the Grosse Île cemeteries were buried in 1847 alone. Most of these were Irish, hence the name Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada. It is not because only the Irish stopped at Grosse Île, but simply because most of the many people who came to the island were Irish. And most of the people buried there are also Irish.

AA:
So we can probably imagine that if Grosse Île hadn't existed . . .

ST:
Things would have been worse.

AA:
Things would have been much worse.

ST:
Yes. And Grosse Île was used for 105 years, from 1832 to 1937. Countless numbers of immigrants passed through the island. I myself visited it and I encourage people to go there. It is an emotional experience. As researchers, we see names on documents, but when you go to Grosse Île and you see the cemetery with all those little white crosses, you think . . .

AA:
It’s real.

ST:
When I think of all those unfortunate people who were sick and poor and who are now buried there, it is really very moving.

AA:
Here’s Simon Jolivet, a professor of history at the University of Ottawa. Mr. Jolivet speaks to us about the importance of Grosse Île, as well as the cultural bond between the Irish and French in Quebec.

Simon Jolivet:
Grosse Île has a very important place in Canadian history, and also for the Irish diaspora in general, because—it bears repeating—it (the mass cemetery, if you will) is the largest Irish Famine-related gravesite in the world. It is the largest single resting place for Irish people outside Ireland in the world. It is therefore of great symbolic importance. When you go to Ireland, few people know Quebec, but if you mention Grosse Île, people do know about it, as does the Irish diaspora in America. If I go to Ireland and talk about Trois-Rivières, people won’t know about that city, but if I talk about Grosse Île, it will resonate with them. It is an extremely important place. I think that the impact of the migratory influx of the 1830s, and especially the 1840s with the Great Irish Famine that completely changed Irish immigration to Canada, cannot be overestimated. Before 1830–1840, there were Irish immigrants who came to Canada, but most were Protestant. The majority came to better their socio-economic situation, one could say with the hope of changing their lives, but also with the hope of acquiring property in Upper Canada—what is now Ontario—because there was land available in 1815, 1820, 1830. But with the cholera epidemic of 1832, and especially with the Great Potato Famine of 1845 to 1849, the immigration wave was not one of hope, but rather one of despair. It was Irish people, mostly Catholic, who did not necessarily want to leave their country, but who were forced to do so because people were starving to death in Ireland . . .

AA:
. . . Starving to death?

SJ:
. . . Either that, or they had to leave. And many people died in the ships before arriving at Grosse Île. Therefore, it was an Irish immigration that changed completely, and it also changed population demographics, especially in Upper and Lower Canada.

AA:
Once they arrived in Canada, did the Irish settle in specific areas? Did their language and religion play a role in determining where they settled?

SJ:
It did indeed. My studies have focused more on the cities—so Québec and Montréal. We know for sure that in Quebec, the main Irish—and mostly Catholic, as I said—communities settled in the cities of Québec and Montréal because they could start up things like social clubs and share parish life. As is often the case with immigration, the cities have great drawing power. However, what we need to know more about is the impact of Irish immigration in the regions. And there were Irish immigrants in many small towns and villages. Here, in the Outaouais, we have the example of Mayo, which is an Irish name. The town was founded by the Irish. It is the name of a county in Ireland. There is also a significant Irish presence in Buckingham, and the presence of Irish Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, in Shawville, near Pontiac. And in Ladysmith. I'll give you another example. Consider the more working-class, urban neighbourhoods like Griffintown in Montréal. We know that for a good part of the 19th century, Griffintown was an Irish, mainly Irish Catholic, neighbourhood. I would say that the Irish Catholics and the Irish Protestants led two very different ways of life. I believe that this was due to political and socio-economic reasons that already existed when these people left Ireland—divisions that were present in Ireland and that would have an impact here. Imagine that you are an Irish Protestant who asserts the British rule in Ireland at that time. Remember that Ireland had been a British colony since the Act of Union of 1801. As there was no parliament in Ireland, all decisions from 1801 to 1921 were made in London. The great landowners and politicians were therefore Anglo-Scots or Irish Protestants who lived in Ireland. When they decided to come here, to Upper or Lower Canada, they continued to be part of the aristocracy or the great Anglo-Protestant bourgeoisie. I'm not saying there were no Irish Protestants living in Montréal’s Griffintown or in another working-class neighbourhood, but it was definitely not the majority. Most Irish Protestants belonged to what is called Montréal's Golden Square Mile—the prosperous English merchant-class neighbourhood. The Irish Catholics, who had been poor in Ireland, were more likely to be tenants than landowners. In the 19th century, they arrived in ill health during the Great Famine. They were unskilled labourers, which is why they settled in Griffintown.

AA:
Professor Robert Grace from the University of Laval joins us to discuss the enduring legacy of Irish cultural traditions in Quebec.

Robert Grace:
In Quebec, in the whole province by 1871, when there is a pan-Canadian census—one of the more reliable ones—10% of the population of Quebec was of Irish origin: that means immigrants and their children, and as I said, in the cities of Québec and Montréal the proportions were even higher.

AA:
Throughout your research, how helpful were Canadian and international censuses?

RG:
Oh, very helpful, that is what I did my doctoral thesis on; I used the 1842 census, the 1852 census, and the 1861 census of the population of Quebec City. These are manuscript censuses I got from microfilm copies at the archives here, and are very very helpful documents because we get a very detailed look, almost inside the households to see how these people lived, what they did, how many children they had, who they married, and it’s what most of my research is based on—these censuses. I think one of the [aspects], perhaps the most important aspect of the whole history of the migration is the proportion of people in Quebec who have Irish origins in Quebec City; it’s an estimate that puts it around 40% of the population today in the Quebec City area, has some Irish origins, and one of the characteristics of this migration in the mid-19th century was the majority of women. There was a clear majority of women in the Irish Catholic population in Quebec City. So for these young Irish women there weren’t enough Irish Catholic men to marry, so they married outside the group and they eventually married French-Canadian men. So, if Bridget Connolly marries Jacques Perreault, their children—because in the census ethnic origin goes by the father—they sort of disappear from the map—this Irish origin [disappears from official records], when an Irish woman marries a French man. So the Irish origin of a good proportion of the population of Quebec City today is sort of hidden from view, but it is there. You know, the Irish blood is in sizeable proportions in the cities of Québec and Montréal.

AA:
What kind of cultural shifts do you think occurred in Quebec as a result of Irish immigration, like music, or food, or culture in general?

RG:
Yeah, one researcher once said to me—we were talking about the Irish in Quebec—and he said that the French Canadians, when they first saw these Irish people arriving, they didn’t know who they were, or whether they were Irish or not; well the French Canadians thought they were all the same, “les Anglais.” And then, they’d see them show up at Church, at mass on Sunday, so that came as a surprise. The relationship between the French and the Irish is quite different than the relationship between the French, and the English, or the Scots, who are of course mostly Protestant. So the fact of the Irish being Catholic helped their integration into Quebec City. In my research, on the group in Quebec City and other research on the Irish in Montréal—contrary to places in Ontario or New Brunswick and the United States, where the Irish settled in mostly Protestant societies, in Québec and in Montréal, the majority being Catholic, there was some upward mobility amongst Irish Catholics that in the 19th century we don’t find elsewhere. And of course, they brought their music with them; Quebec traditional music has quite an Irish ring to it sometimes. In the 1920s and during the 1930s and the depression years, a woman by the name of La Bolduc wrote and sang songs about the working classes in French, and they were very popular and humorous. They played on the radio and she travelled around the province performing. Her husband was Mr. Bolduc—that’s why they called her La Bolduc—but her name at birth was Mary Travers. Her father was the son of an Irish immigrant, so the first or second generation, whichever you prefer to call it, and he showed her the Irish music. Apparently she could play the spoons when she was a little girl and she introduced la turlutte into French-Canadian music—it’s just singing the sounds, not the words. So she had quite the influence on the musical scene in the 1930s and the early part of the depression.

AA:
Yes, I think most French-Canadian people know about La Bolduc.

RG: Yes, they do; she is still popular, and other groups have recently taken up her music and put sort of a modern twist on it, but it’s the same melodies and the same words.

SJ:
There is a reason why there is a St. Patrick's Day parade in Montréal, for example. The first parade took place in 1824 and has been held nearly every year since. I say "nearly" because it is generally believed that Montréal’s St. Patrick's Day parade has run continuously from 1824 to the present day. But that is not exactly true; there were two or three years when no parade was held. That said, the fact that the parade is still held in 2012 and attended by so many people means that there is indeed an Irish presence. The parade is organized by the Irish, especially Montréal-based Irish associations, which means that there are people who have been there for a very long time and who are culturally strong enough and have the numbers to organize such a parade.
 
There are so many things we could talk about. There are many Irish surnames in Quebec that have been given French equivalents or that have stayed more Irish. Some of the surnames that have remained include Walsh, Lynch, Nelligan, McMahon, O’Brien and O’Gallagher. But let's take the example of someone who had Irish ancestors with the surname O’Brien. Through the generations, people adopted the French language and culture and decided to change this surname in their baptismal records to Brien.

AA:
I see.

SJ:
There is also the famous case of the man reputed to be the first Irish person to arrive here in the 17th or rather the 18th century, a Timothy O’Sullivan. His name appears in several registers written differently, as Timothé Sylvain. There are many names that were francized like that.

AA:
So the name Sylvain, it's a name . . . My surname is Alain. It is both a first and last name. But Sylvain is also used as a first name. Could it come from Sullivan?

SJ:
Yes, it could. But is that the only answer? Were there some Irish people who went to Brittany and came here totally francized, and who already used the surname Sylvain? In my own family, we say (but then again, further research is required) that my grandmother is a Caron. Some will say that it’s a French name, while others might argue that it’s the francization of Carroll, or O’Carroll, that became Caron because Francophones had trouble pronouncing Carroll and they said Caron to make things easier.

What is very interesting and specific to Quebec—really, I believe it is unique to Quebec and French Canada, so in French Ontario as well—were the exchanges between the Irish who came here and Francophones. We don’t see that kind of exchange elsewhere in the world.

AA:
If I'm from Quebec and I know that I have Irish ancestors in my family history, how do I go about looking them up? Where do I begin?

ST:
First, it’s like any genealogical research. You need to start by asking your family members questions. Find out as much as possible by asking your father, mother or grandparents questions. That's the foundation. Then you can consult our databases on the Library and Archives Canada website. There are three major databases for research on the Irish. First, there is a database on Grosse Île per se—the quarantine station. This database contains some 30,000 references to people who stayed on Grosse Île. When we say "stay," it could be someone who was hospitalized on Grosse Île and it could be someone who was born or who died there.

We also have another database called Immigrants to Canada, which—for the Irish—includes records like the papers of James Allison, who was an immigration officer in Montréal. It is important to understand that although immigrants arrived in the city of Québec, many went on to Montréal because the Lachine Canal was being built at that time, and in the 1830s, many of the Irish worked on the Lachine Canal construction.

AA:
It was work.

ST:
It was work. People were looking for work because they had to survive. They had to be able to feed their families. The Immigrants to Canada database also includes a collection from the English archives called Colonial Office 384, which basically deals with the Irish. It consists of documents created by the British administration giving the names of the Irish who were about to depart for Canada.

Lastly, I would like to mention a third database called the Montreal Emigrant Society Passage Book. We spoke earlier about charitable organizations; this is one that was based in Montréal and by happenstance—and some luck—it was discovered that this society kept account books and we have one of those books. It contains the names of around 8,700 people—Irish immigrants. What is interesting is that it indicates where these people intended to settle. So we have the names of the people who settled, for instance, in Cornwall, Prescott, Kingston, Upper Canada, and in various Quebec towns. For me, the importance of genealogical research is that it often involves solving puzzles, finding one's identity and understanding our history, as well . . .

AA:
Where we fit into history.

ST:
We can personalize our history to some extent. In terms of history with a capital H, yes, we know that Irish immigrants came to Canada. But when we can personalize that history, it becomes a whole other world, which is even more interesting.

AA:
I'd like to thank you for coming to speak with us today about Irish immigration.

ST:
You’re most welcome. My pleasure.

AA:
To learn more about the Irish experience in Canada, please visit us at:
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/ireland/index-e.html

To find out more about Grosse Île, go to:
www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/grosse-ile/index-e.html

Thank you for joining us. I’m your host, Angèle Alain, and you’ve been listening to Discover Library and Archives Canada—where Canadian history, literature and culture await you. A special thanks to our guests today, Sylvie Tremblay, Jo-Anick Proulx, Simon Jolivet and Robert Grace.

For more information about our podcast, or if you have questions, comments or suggestions, please visit us at www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/news/podcasts.
 
Date modified: