The Petworth Emigration Project is sponsored by the Reverend Edward J.R. Jackman and supported by the Jackman Foundation of Toronto.

With great sadness we report the death of the Reverend Edward John Rowell Jackman at his home in Kleinburg Ontario, on 18 June 2021.

In his foreword to Assisting Emigration to Upper Canada, Father Jackman described himself as "a proud descendant of Petworth pioneers." He ended with the words, "We spent many years researching and writing this history, and I have much enjoyed sharing the process with our author-editors, Wendy Cameron, Sheila Haines, and Mary McDougall Maude, and meeting other people seeking out their own ancestors who were part of this scheme. I have had the pleasure of visiting nearly every locale in Sussex and Surrey from whence our ancestors came and many of their destinations in Ontario.... May those of us of Petworth-scheme ancestry continue to share our experiences and to deepen our knowledge of what was done for us so many years ago."

All of us associated with the Petworth Project enjoyed our part in the process of creation just as much. We met Father Ed as a thoughtful and generous sponsor who saw the potential of sources for these books and beyond. As we formed a team and he travelled between Canada and England, we shared historical enthusiasms and became good friends. We and many others will miss him greatly.

As Father Ed hoped, Petworth descendants are deepening their knowledge of their family histories and contacting each other, sometimes giving us glimpses when they use our Facebook group. We wish them well in these pursuits, as we know he did.

Wendy Cameron

continues as manager of the Petworth Emigration Project. She is returning to the subject of nineteenth century immigration for a book on the government emigrant agents of Upper Canada/Canada West, 1830-1867. As they assisted the poorest of each year’s immigrants, these agents explored poverty in Canada as experienced by hundreds, and in some years thousands, of newcomers. Wendy’s articles on the Petworth immigrants include: "'Till they get tidings from those who are gone....': Thomas Sockett and Letters from Petworth Emigrants, 1832-1837," Ontario History, 85,1 (1993): 1-16; and "Defining Opportunity from Below: Assisted English Immigrants in 1830s Upper Canada," British Journal of Canadian Studies, 16,1 (2003), 44-5.

Mary McDougall Maude

is an editor working primarily in the areas of Canadian studies, reference, and government reports. She is a partner in Shipton, McDougall Maude Associates, a publishing consulting and editorial and project management business, and a founder of the Certificate in Publishing Program at Ryerson University in Toronto.

Brenda Dougall Merriman

is a Certified Genealogist Emeritus. Her book, Genealogy in Ontario: Searching the Records, is in its 5th edition. Other books are The Emigrant Ancestors of a Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and About Genealogical Standards of Evidence, a guide for family historians, those three published by the Ontario Genealogical Society. United Empire Loyalists: A Guide to Tracing Loyalist Ancestors in Upper Canada was published in 2006 by Global Heritage Press. Brenda's blog is at http://brendadougallmerriman.blogspot.com

Dr. Sheila Haines, PHD

taught history for many years for the Centre for Continuing Education, University of Sussex. She edited No Trifling Matter (University of Sussex, 1990) an account of the voyage of the Petworth ship British Tar, written by members of her Worthing Adult Education study group. Sheila lectured extensively and wrote many articles on emigration. In 1990 she began research for Wordforce and the Jackman Foundation, Toronto, into the history of the Petworth Emigration Scheme; two books were published in Canada: Assisting Emigration and English Immigrant Voices (McGill Queens University Press, 2000). Having had a continuing interest in the organiser of the Petworth Scheme, the rector Thomas Sockett, Sheila then embarked on a biography Poor Cottages and Proud Palaces, the Life and Work of the Reverend Thomas Sockett of Petworth 1777-1859 (Hastings Press, 2007). Sheila and Leigh were working on a biography of Elizabeth Ilive, the wife of the Third Earl of Egremont when Sheila died in 2011.

Leigh Lawson

was a contributor to No Trifling Matter. She assisted Sheila Haines with the genealogical research in the UK for the database of emigrants, an important part of the Petworth Emigration Scheme books and worked with Sheila on the letters reproduced in English Immigrant Voices. She continues to provide updated information for the Petworth Emigration website. At the request of the Hon. H.N.R. Jackman of Toronto, Leigh wrote a genealogical history, The Jackman Family in West Sussex 1565-1836. Sheila and Leigh were partners in Kinship, specialising in genealogical research in West Sussex and worked closely together on the Sockett biography, Poor Cottages and Proud Palaces. Leigh was assisting Sheila with the biography of Elizabeth Ilive. After Sheila's death, Alison McCann joined the project and together they completed the biography, Elizabeth Ilive, Egremont's Countess (Bakehouse Press, 2017).

View Leigh's interview with the Bald Explorer!

Alison McCann

worked on the Petworth House Archives for forty years when an archivist at West Sussex Record Office, being responsible for compiling four out of the five completed volumes of the Catalogue. She is now employed as Archivist to Lord Egremont and the Leconfield Estate. She has published more than thirty historical articles, chiefly concerning Chichester and Petworth. She is currently working on a biography of the Third Earl of Egremont.


Petworth emigrants is a group page on Facebook. Please join us there if you would like to post information or see if you can find other descendants researching your emigrant ancestors who came to Canada with the Petworth emigration project. In addition to those who made a permanent home in Canada, a number of first-generation emigrants moved on to the United States.

In England

The West Sussex Record Office offers professional research services carried out by a staff member.

In Canada

For genealogical assistance in Canada contact the Ontario Chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Mollitia nesciunt deserunt earum quidem omnis.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Officia commodi architecto alias perferendis porro.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Reprehenderit tempora a, possimus magnam, numquam.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Laboriosam earum perferendis quidem asperiores neque.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Laborum, cum. Quo culpa reprehenderit distinctio, ipsum.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Sunt quam vero eligendi, vitae, blanditiis, aliquam.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Dolore ea, eos, atque labore odit reiciendis sunt.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Voluptatem nobis sequi ratione quibusdam, laudantium.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Harum eaque non, illo quas natus mollitia. Sint sunt.

We have a Facebook Page for the project 'Petworth Emigration Project' and a Facebook Group 'Petworth Emigrants' for descendants to join and share family information.