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Digging for Green Roots

    The school project was to do a display or poster on any country. Since this was March, I chose Ireland. Right after school, I went to Gram's as I knew she had postcards of St. Patrick's Day. I hoped she would let me borrow one.

    After a great deal of discussion and a promise of taking good care, I tucked into my book bag, one that showed a goodby handshake over the waters between North America and Ireland as well as one of her hankies with a shamrock embroidered on the corner.

    Dad cut the sides off a box - leaving about two inches. Next came using a waxed crayon to colour the bottom blue. With Mum's help I traced the maps of Ireland and Canada from her Nelson's Geography book. Ireland was coloured green and Canada was pink and glued onto the water. I took little pieces of tree tips and glued them on to make Canada look like a land of forest.

     The hands I drew did not have much resemblance to the postcard as drawing was not one of my strong points but I was quite proud of my sailing ship with the three-dimensional sails. 

    Next I went to the cellar to fetch rotten spuds to show the potato famine had forced many people to leave the country to seek a better life in a far away place. The mucilage wasn't very strong but it did hold the potatoes in place.

    I stood back and admired my masterpiece with the postcard leaning against the top of the box, the hankie carefully draped over the edging, the flag of Ireland glued to a splinter of kindling and a bit of flax seed lumped in a pile stuck together with glue. In my eyes everything was just perfect.

    Mum placed the box into a pillowcase so I could get it to school safely.

    Next morning, I was still so proud of my accomplishments, as I carried my project in my arms, carefully opened the door and stepped outside. But no one had warned me the wind was just a howling. It grabbed my box and flipped it upside down and whirled it across the snowbank.

    There was nothing I could do but burst into tears!

    When everything goes wrong in the search for Irish ancestors, sometimes tears could easily come to our eyes but crying won't solve the problem - one must locate sources that hold pieces of information to put the puzzle together.

    An interesting and informative site is that of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick at where information can be found on a partial listing of Irish Family Histories at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick by Robert F. Fellows, Irish New Brunswick Place Names as the Irish immigrants often used the names of their communities to remind them of their homeland, the building of a church was high on the priority list of the new Irish immigrants so take a look at Church of the Immaculate Conception at Cork, St. Dunstans in Fredericton which was the first New Brunswick Catholic Cathedral, St. Paul's Anglican Church in Londonderry, Chaplains B.J. Murdoch and R.M. Hickey - the story of two Irish-New Brunswick Chaplains during Canada's War years, and several archived copies of The Shamrock Leaf - the semi-annual publication of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick's. By the way major chances and additions are to be made to this website on Match 31, so check back often.

    "Together in Exile," is a comprehensive text by Saint John writer Peter Murphy with page after page of genealogical information tracing the County Louth emigrants and their descendants to Lower Cove, Saint John from Ireland. Peter spent 11 years researching here in Canada, as well as in Ireland and the U.S. before compiling the book in 1990. You will find out where these people
lived, how they made a living and, finally, how they died. Every fact is documented with a reference

    Out of Ireland  a journey across time, ocean and land from pre-famine Ireland to modern North America was published as a series from June 9 to July 25, 1997 in the Saint John TIMES GLOBE and compiled into book form.   Some issues are on line at

    I suggest you check the library for publications related to the settling of the Irish in New Brunswick such as:

New Ireland Remembered: historical essays on the Irish in New Brunswick edited by P.M. Toner

Index to Irish immigrants in the New Brunswick census of 1851 by Peter Toner,

Exiles and Islanders - The Irish Settlers of Prince Edward Island by Brendon O'Grady,

Tending The Flock - Bishop Joseph-Octave Plessis and Roman Catholics in early 19th Century
New Brunswick by John Jennings,

A History of the Diocese of Saint John - Its Bishops and Parishes by Rev. Dr. Michael McGowan,

and Catholic Irish In New Brunswick 1783-1900 by Leo J. Hynes.

Pioneers, Ploughs, and Politics: New Brunswick Planned Settlements - Johnville on the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick website at provides details on the Johnville scheme which was very ambitious. The promoters being anxious to establish several hundred people quickly on crown lands. Despite hardships and challenges, the Johnville settlers, led by Bishop John Sweeny and the Rev. Thomas Connolly, persevered and built a viable settlement within five years of their arrival in Carleton County. The community has retained its Irish-Catholic character to this day.

There are many websites with free information on Irish ancestors - one being Bann Valley, Northern Ireland at

The Irish Family History Foundation is the coordinating body for a network of county based genealogical research centres on the island of Ireland. These centres have computerised millions of Irish genealogical records, including church records, census returns and gravestone inscriptions. Centres are now making their records available via an online research system (ORS) which will allow you to search an index of records and pay to view a record at

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!  May the wind always be in your back.


Query 1596
Causey - Reid: I'm looking for information on William Causey and the buildings he built in Saint John. He came from Plymouth, England as a young man. His wife was a Reid from Ireland. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge.
K. Rea
#136-4210-139 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
T5Y 2W6

Query 1597
Green - Middlemore Home Children: Edith Elizabeth Green age 12 was sent to New Brunswick as a British Home Child by the Middlemore Centre. She arrived in Nova Scotia on 8 June 1912 on the ship Carthaginian with her sister Winifred Amelia Green age 7 who was placed with a family somewhere in Nova Scotia. I am trying to find more information about what happened to these two girls.
Dawn M Coffey
40 Hanover House
St. John's Wood High St.
London, NW8 7DY
020 7722 4039 - home
0777 232 9977 - mobile

Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff living in New Brunswick, Canada. Send your New Brunswick genealogical queries to her at:  Please put "Query" followed by the surnames in your query as the subject. For more information on submitting queries, visit

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