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Kelly/Verge Genealogy


Emigrant Life

The Crossing

Regardless of what difficulties faced our ancestors in their old homes, the decision to leave could never be an easy one to make. One reason for this was the difficulty in even getting to the colonies. Passage was expensive and perilous. Even on a good voyage, there were virtually always some deaths. For more information on the ships below please see sources on the Links page. For more information on the individuals mentioned, see the Nova Scotia Roots page.

Canning - 1749

Edward Cornwallis, the first Governor of Nova Scotia, arrived at Halifax with at least a dozen ships and 2,500 settlers in the summer of 1749. One of these, the frigate Canning, carried a possible ancestor. Charles Covey had been a midshipman aboard the Revenge. He arrived on the Canning with two boys, likely sons, in July of 1749. As a midshipman with two sons, he would have received 70 acres (50 plus 10 each for his sons - higher ranking officers received more), rent and tax free for ten years. As well, he would have been issued arms and ammunition for defence, and any materials and tools as deemed necessary for building a home, farming and fishing, as was appropriate to his situation. Charles may have been an ancestor of Eleanor Covey, who married Michael Fleet. Their daughter Jane married Jacob Langille in 1822.

Betty - 1752

The Betty left Rotterdam on May 17, 1752. It arrived in Halifax on July 14, a crossing of only 75 days. Out of 161 passengers, only 7 (about 4%) died during the trip. All in all, the voyage was a much easier one than the Sally (below), which left Rotterdam two weeks later. Ancestors who arrived on the Betty: Leopold Frederick & Marguerite (Sandoz) Langille (daughter Catherine was born on board, while the ship was docked in Halifax, but before the passengers dismbarked); David Langille, brother of Frederick (David's wife Catherine died during the voyage); and Mattieu Langille, Leopold and David's cousin, and brother of David Langille, who arrived on the Sally.

Sally - 1752

The voyage on the Sally was a difficult one - long and stormy. The ship sailed from Rotterdam on May 30, 1752, and arrived in Halifax about Sept. 6, a 120-day voyage. The passengers were not allowed to disembark until Sept. 26, due to the threat of contagious diseases on board. Forty passengers died during the voyage, out of an original total of 258, roughly 15%. The ship's captain, John Robinson, also died during the crossing, and so did quite a few others, soon after their arrival. Ancestors who arrived on the Sally: David & Maria Catharina (David) Langille, also David's son by his first wife, John James, as well as Maria Catherina's son Jacques Amez. A daughter, Margaretha, was born in port in Halifax. David was a cousin of Leopold Langille.

The New World

I often find myself wondering what faced my ancestors when they arrived on the Miramichi, or on Nova Scotia's south shore. Even further back, what did Captain John Underhill find when he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony? Lost to time is a specific portrait of the day itself - was it bleak and rainy, keeping down the spirits of the new arrivals, or did the sun shine, bringing hope after a long voyage? This is impossible to know, but there are some sources that can give a snapshot of the landscape that confronted them.

Sources

  • Our Roots - This website is the home of an excellent project which collects, scans, and places online, Canadian local histories which are in the public domain, or which have been otherwise permitted to be digitally reproduced. There are thousands of texts reproduced here, which would formerly have been inaccessible to most of us!
    • Sketches of New Brunswick: containing an account of the first settlement of the province, with a brief description of the country, climate, productions, inhabitants, government, rivers, towns, settlements, public institutions, trade, revenue, population, &c. - Peter Fisher, 1825
    • A Historical and Statistical Account of New Brunswick - Rev. Christopher Atkinson, 1844 - This book also features a chapter on "The Subject of Emigration", which includes useful advice on topics ranging from housebuilding, agriculture and manure; to counties, parishes and roads; and finally, poetry (!).


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