Irish Surnames in Canada - The Story of Emigration and Migration

For this season of The Genealogy Radio Show we are focussing on Irish Surnames in Canada. We have covered a show on Irish Surnames in Newfoundland part 1 and another will be broadcast before Christmas.
We are currently researching Irish surnames in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Newfoundland and have had some interesting research outputs, so we will be putting a list of sources together to aid our listeners overseas.

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Some interesting outputs are already evident with Irish surnames. Early emigration to Newfoundland came from the east coast of Ireland and Northern Ireland. We sourced some great surnames which are now extinct in Ireland but have thrived in Newfoundland. This is the case with surnames. It's rare in one place and common in another.
Surnames also dominate townlands and once they are no longer in that townland due to emigration, they thrive overseas.

Sources such as 1659 Pender's Census are invaluable for this type of work and they fix the origins of certain surnames and clans and we can work out internal migration patterns due to upheavals in Ireland in the seventeenth century. Then we can track where people come from and go to in Ireland and abroad.

A wonderful source on surnames is available on the UCC Celt website, a free resource and one that owes a debt of gratitude to many academics at UCC. Please do check it out and it is a wonderful source and you can go to it here. It should be renamed the online source for Literature, poltics, history and genealogy as it is simply fabulous and a great learning portal, see

This week we are looking at Irish surnames in Ontario, Canada and this is part 1 of our Irish surnames in Ontario. We'd love it if you could tune in to Raidio Corcabaisicinn or pick it up on our archived website at   We have over 100 shows presented, produced and podcast and it has become a great learning resource.

Help us fill in the blanks in Ontario and to locate great sources for you by posting your surnames and family history online so we can research this rich data.

Our wonderful Poets of Irish Origin from Mohil, Co. Leitrim, William (Drumm) Drummond show how names become anglicised and his poignant poetry on the death of his children and dreaming of the death of his son. We can understand the accents from his family ancestry.
The Last Portage
An' a wonderful wan it seem –
For I 'm off on de road I was never see,
Too long an' hard for a man lak me,
So ole he can only wait de call
Is sooner or later come to all.

De night is dark an' de portage dere
Got plaintee o' log lyin' ev'ryw'ere,
Black bush aroun' on de right an' lef,
A step from de road an' you los' you'se'f;
De moon an' de star above is gone,
Yet somet'ing tell me I mus' go on.

An' off in front of me as I go,
Light as a dreef of de fallin' snow –
Who is dat leetle boy dancin' dere
Can see hees w'ite dress an' curly hair,
An' almos' touch heem, so near to me
In an' out dere among de tree?

An' den I 'm hearin' a voice is say,
"Come along, fader, don't min' de way,
De boss on de camp he sen' for you,
So your leetle boy 's going to guide you t'roo
It 's easy for me, for de road I know,
'Cos I travel it many long year ago."

An' oh! mon Dieu! w'en he turn hees head
I 'm seein' de face of ma boy is dead –
Dead wit' de young blood in hees vein –
An' dere he 's comin' wance more again
Wit' de curly hair, an' dark-blue eye,
So lak de blue of de summer sky –

An' now no more for de road I care,
An' slippery log lyin' ev'ryw'ere –
De swamp on de valley, de mountain too
But climb it jus' as I use to do –
Don't stop on de road, for I need no res'
So long as I see de leetle w'ite dress.

An' I foller it on, an' wance in a w'ile
He turn again wit' de baby smile,
An' say, "Dear fader, I 'm here you see
We 're bote togeder, jus' you an' me –
Very dark to you, but to me it 's light,
De road we travel so far to-night.

"De boss on de camp w'ere I alway stay
Since ever de tam I was go away,
He welcome de poores' man dat call,
But love de leetle wan bes' of all,
So dat 's de reason I spik for you
An' come to-night for to bring you t'roo."

Lak de young Jesu w'en he 's here below
De face of ma leetle son look jus' so –
Den off beyon', on de bush I see
De w'ite dress fadin' among de tree –
Was it a dream I dream las' night
Is goin' away on de morning light?
William Henry Drummond,
Christmas 1904
from The Voyageur and Other Poems1905


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