MUSEUM IS LOOKING FOR THE IRISH (October 24/11)

“Antigonish County has its Scots, Kings its Irish,” claims a friend who as an ardent “Scotophile” (if there is such a word) says he’s studied these things.

This may be askew when it comes to Kings County demographics, but this area does have many people with Irish surnames. Irish surnames outnumbered all others in a Catholic cemetery I looked at recently, for example. And according to local folklore, there are a couple of areas that once held small Irish settlements, one of them containing a forgotten, overgrown cemetery where numerous Irish settlers are buried.

If you need more convincing, look at the number of people with Irish names who in the 18th and 19th century settled all along the North Mountain, out on the New Ross Road, and in areas such as Centreville and Atlanta. Well after the Planters arrived, some of the land outside the main settlements was taken up by people out of Ireland. A few were grantees, some were “settled soldiers,” some were “removals by the British” during the potato famines.

It must be admitted that small as it is, there’s an Irish element in Kings County; not all us are of Planter or Scottish descendants. In fact, a move is afoot to seek out descendants of families from Ireland that settled in Kings County. Such a move is a current project of the Kings County Museum’s community and family history committee. In a recent newsletter on the topic of the Irish, the committee noted they settled at various times and in various localities in Kings. This is evident from the number of “Irish surnames (that) appear on stones in many of the 100 cemeteries in Kings County, on census and church records,” says the committee in the newsletter.

The main focus of the committee is to compile a “demographic profile” and gather “genealogical information” on these Irish settlers. If you have Irish ancestors who settled in Kings County the committee would like to hear from you. Any family history would be a welcome addition to the Museum’s archives.

Any input you may have re Irish ancestors, including research sources you may have found, will be welcome as well. If you have an Irish surname, or if one of your parents or grandparents did, you may wish to fill out the survey the committee has prepared. This can be found at the following: genealogy@okcm.ca.

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