Sunday, November 19, 2017

Tracing Northern Polish Immigrants Into Canada - Kashubes

When searching genealogy, we have a habit of placing specific nationalities within particular countries, yet that is not always the case.

Canada always draws our attention towards the French, but they were not the only immigrants found on its shores. 

The first wave of Polish immigrants to Canada was primarily Kashubes of northern Poland. With their homeland partitioned by Prussian occupation, many Kashubian families made the journey to the Renfrew area of eastern Ontario, taking advantage of tenders of free land. Many of these newly arrived immigrants settled in the town of Wilno, Ontario, which today is recognized as the oldest Polish settlement in Canada. By 1862, another significant group of Poles immigrated to Canada, with the majority settling this time in Berlin, Ontario, presently known as Kitchener.
(Polish, Genealogy and Family History, Government of Canada, https://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/history-ethnic-cultural/Pages/polish.aspx, accessed 11/19/2017)

Along with the United States, Canada was a popular relocation country until the Great Depression of the 1930s. Immigration was heavily reduced to approximately 3,500 until after the completion of WWII. From 1945 to 1956, another 65,000 Polish immigrants arrived and the numbers continued to grow.

There are a number of searchable websites online today where you can trace your Polish ancestors who became Canadian citizens. One such list is the Canada Passenger Lists - 1881 to 1922. Other lists are available for popular immigration years and if your ancestors relocated to the United States thereafter, you'll also want to check out the Canadian Border Crossing lists.

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