Search for Irish Canadian ancestors, Irish genealogy tips

Irish Canadian Roots
Photo above –Jannet L. Walsh at Port Metcalf, the foot of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada. Canada to the left, and right is the United States, Dec. 30, 2022, self portrait. Read related stories about Jannet’s Irish Diaspora writing project.

Jannet L. Walsh
March 14, 2023
Murdock, Minnesota

I’m sharing a listing of resources for searching for Irish Canadian ancestors. If you are searching for your roots in Ireland, here are my top 10 tips for Irish genealogy to help get you started.



Resources to search for Irish and Canadian ancestors

Irish Immigration to Canada, learn more at The Canadian Encyclopedia online

Google Search – Simply do a Google search, or use another search engine, to locate Canadian genealogy documents, and see what you find. Try to be specific, with names, dates, location and other details. Here is the search for the Wolfe Island documents I found using key terms of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada, and Baptism Records.

Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada – Jannet L. Walsh waves to passersby from Spoor House built about 1870, located on Main Street in Marysville village on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada. Walsh spent the Christmas season exploring her family’s forgotten history on Wolfe Island located in the archipelago of the Thousand Islands, near the mainland city of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Learn about this cottage, and other historic places to stay at Hotel Wolfe Island. (Self portrait by Jannet L. Walsh)

FamilySearch – Start searching at for genealogy records. This is the site I found marriage records to my Great Great-Grandparents in at the Cathedral in Kingston dating back to 1857, and baptism records on Wolfe Island, Ontario. You might be able to search, but will need a free account to view and download documents.

Free resources – You will find numerous non-subscription databases at the National Archives, Washington, DC. Look at listing for state archives offering free access to paid resources. You might already have access in your city, county or state as part of public services and resources.

Irish Genealogy Toolkit by Clair Santry, has impressive and comprehensive resources of Canadian immigration resources, view her website.

Ancestry is a very helpful resource for searching for genealogy, and requires a paid membership. Check with your local libraries, historical societies and museums offering free access in your local area.

ArchivesCanadian immigration

Irish Canadian Family – This is a collection of Irish Canadian family photographs by author Jannet L. Walsh. Learn more about the photo in the center of the collection of Catherine Summers Walsh (1833-1909), and her husband Michael J. Walsh Sr. (1812-1901), great great-grandparents of Jannet L. Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota. Undated photo, late 1890s to early 1900s.

Canadian Provinces, search by locations – See FamilySearch, select Places within Canada, and see listing by topics. Searching by location is to find detail to a specific location, see search at FamilySearch website, sign in to search.

Library and Archives Canada – Learn how to begin genealogy search, research by topic and place, research tools, links, and how to get help. Read details at Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

National Archives Ireland – Genealogy services free in person in Dublin and online, census records, resources, glossary, digitized collections and more. Read details at website of National Archives Ireland.

Newfoundland Grand Banks, view documents provided by the genealogical and historical data for the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. View details at Newfoundland’s Grand Banks website. See also FamilySearch.

Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867, Volume 2 – Available for download at Google Books, and other resources. View details at

Ontario, Canada Roman Catholic Records – Search records by counties at FamilySearch for church records from 1760 to 1923, view search.

Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec, Canada, 1832-1837, search records at Library and Archives Canada.

The New Brunswick Irish Portal, listing of databases from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Canada, search website

Victoria Harbour – Author Jannet L. Walsh, standing on upper level of city parking building with Victoria Harbour in background, Victoria, BC, Canada, Aug. 17, 2019. | Photo by Bethany Schmidt, used with permission.

Census Records, Canadian

Canadian Census records at FamilySearch, 1881 to 1901, search collection.

Canadian Census records, 1825 to 1926, search records at Library and Archives Canada.

Canadian Births and Baptism, 1661-1959, search at FamilySearch

Canadian Marriages 1661-1949, search at FamilySearch

Canadian Deaths and Burials, 1664-1955, search at FamilySearch

Passenger Lists

The Ships List, Irish passenger lists from Ireland to Canada, 1823 – 1825, see Peter Robinson Setters from Cork to Canada.

Passenger lists for Port Quebec City and other Canadian Ports, 1865-1922, search records at Library and Archies Canada.

Canadian Passenger Lists, 1881-1922, search at FamilySearch

Immigrant Ships Transcriber Guild, listing of ships dating be the 1700s, search listing

Wolfe Island and Kingston, Ontario

Wolfe Island Historical Society, view website, and learn more this society devoted to the preservation and promotion of Wolfe Island history.

History of Wolfe IslandWolfe Island’s roots date back to 1675 by Floyd Patterson, The Kingston Whig Standard.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Wolfe Island, Ontario Canada – Index to baptisms, 1833 to 1910, see The Island: Sacred Heart baptisms, Wolfe Island website.

Wolfe Island, Frontenac County, Ontario index cemeteries, census records, church records, genealogy, history, land and property, see FamilySearch Catalog, keywords Canada, Ontario, Frontenac.

Church records, Ontario and including Kingston, see Frontenac County, at FamilySearch

This activity is made possible by a grant from the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council with funds from The McKnight Foundation. Learn more about this project writing project, and more details about this grant.

Jannet L. Walsh at Port Metcalf, the foot of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada. Canada to the left, and right is the United States, Dec. 30, 2022, self portrait.

Jannet L. Walsh of Murdock, Minnesota is a photographer, writer, and educator. She is the author of the forthcoming creative nonfiction quest narrative “Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota,” scheduled for publication in 2023 by Shanti Arts Publishing. Walsh is recipient of a Southwest Minnesota Arts Council Growth Grant funded by the McKnight Foundation, 2022-2024. You can follow Walsh on Facebook and Twitter, and on her other social media channels, with the hashtag #IrishFamilyHistoryDetective.

Subscribe – Get updates on latest blogs and news from Jannet L. Walsh and her forthcoming book Higgledy-Piggledy Stones: Family Stories from Ireland and Minnesota, scheduled publication 2023, Shanti Arts Publishing.

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