Irish Immigration through Canada
6/13/2014
Our expert answers a question about tracing Irish immigrants to Canada.
Q. I'm tracing my Fallon, Caslin, Donlon and Conry ancestors from County Roscommon, Ireland. I have found them in New York in 1847, but there's no record of them entering the United States at any of the eastern sea ports. I've also been in touch with the Roscommon Heritage Centre and they find no trace of these folks. I suspect they entered through Canada. What's the best course of action without a marriage or birth record? I think I need ship lists from Canadian ports of entry but don't know were to start.

A. First, passenger lists are not going to tell you anything more than Roscommon as a place of origin in Ireland. But they may show you who immigrated together to North America and add a few more people to the picture. Unfortunately, systematic government passenger lists into Canada do not begin until 1865. However, there were scattered passenger lists for Canada before this time, and you can access most of them by searching the InGeneas Immigration Database and miscellaneous pre-1865 immigration indexes at Library and Archives Canada.