Assisting Emigration to Upper Canada: The Petworth Project, 1832-1837

Assisting Emigration to Upper Canada: The Petworth Project, 1832-1837
by Wendy Cameron and Mary McDougall Maude

McGill-Queen's University Press, September 2000, cloth, 376pp, illus, maps, tables and figures

Includes notes, bibliography, and index

Winner of the Ontario Historical Society's J.J. Talman Award for 2000

... "a real addition to our understanding of the peopling of the province"
E.Jane Errington, Ontario History 93, no. 1 (2001)

"a remarkable achievement backed by an immense amount of research"
George E. Hoffman, Canadian Social Studies, 31, no. 1 (2002)

"well written and handsomely produced, with excellent maps"
J.I. Little, Canadian Historical Review 83, no. 1 (2002)

Assisting Emigration is listed on the McGill-Queen's University Press website and booksellers can order it from them. It is also available online at sites including Chapters Indigo,,, and It can be purchased with English Immigrant Voices in a boxed set.

Also available in e-book format - information to purchase at McGill-Queen's University Press or check your public or university library. 

Counties and Parishes sending Petworth  Emigrants identified by the Petworth Project

Counties and Parishes sending Petworth Emigrants identified by the Petworth Project

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Ducimus, eius, quo. Ex blanditiis ullam corporis culpa non. Deserunt doloribus sed ipsam qui ex, expedita, architecto cumque ullam quod quia officia.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Modi eaque quos, nulla maxime quaerat ab non maiores, temporibus earum adipisci expedita nesciunt similique sunt omnis quisquam odit voluptatem quis culpa.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Nulla corrupti assumenda delectus blanditiis odio optio modi reprehenderit, sint excepturi, vero debitis non odit eaque deleniti, tempora nobis ut soluta inventore!

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Magni repudiandae sequi placeat ea minus excepturi, minima quam. Quod enim sed nisi itaque error optio nostrum ducimus, sunt, illo, repellendus rerum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit. Atque quidem eaque autem quisquam et, modi in soluta debitis iste dicta ex ab consequuntur non quas placeat! Itaque a ad, eius.

Assisting Emigration To Upper Canada: The Petworth Project 1832-1837

The most complete narrative of the Petworth emigrations is the one drawn from the documents of sponsors and government: those who decided what assistance would be given, to whom it would be given, and how it would be delivered. This is the view from above. The letters published in English Immigrant Voices add colour and detail to this narrative, but the stories they tell are the stories of individuals intent on their own life adventures rather than on their place in a bigger picture.


Part One
Assisted Emigration in Transition: The Petworth Emigrations from Sussex to Upper Canada, 1832-1837
by Wendy Cameron

1 "Emigration ... the best if not the only remedy": From Swing to Parish-assisted Emigration
2 "Decent accommodation": Setting a Standard for the Petworth Emigrations
3 "Pauperism [is] almost universal": Who Were the Petworth Emigrants?
4 "Trouble in travelling": Travelling and Finding a First Home in the Canadas
5 "Domiciles of their own": Assisted Settlement in Upper Canada
6 "Nothing will be done by the government": Failed Plans for Assisted Settlement and the Ending of the Petworth Scheme
7 Conclusion: The Petworth Emigrations and Assisted Emigration

Part Two

A List of Petworth Emigrants, 1832-1837
Edited by Mary McDougall Maude, Compiled by Wendy Cameron, Sheila Haines, Leigh Lawson and Brenda Dougall Merriman

PART ONE: THE PETWORTH EMIGRATIONS FROM SUSSEX TO UPPER CANADA, 1832-1837 In Part One, Wendy Cameron follows the work of the Petworth Emigration Committee over six years and traces how their immigrants were received in each of these years.

The 1830s were years of social and political change in Britain. Rural unrest in 1830-31 spurred politicians and landlords to re-examine the roles government and individuals should play in fighting poverty. Assisting Emigration demonstrates the impact of new attitudes and new rules of relief for the English poor on poor immigrants arriving in Upper Canada. Using an unusually rich collection of contemporary sources, this micro-study of one group of assisted English immigrants investigates forces and circumstances felt by many of their contemporaries whose travels were not so well recorded.

  • Primary sources for the Petworth emigrations were found in archives of Petworth House and Goodwood House in West Sussex and in government repositories on both sides of the Atlantic.
  • Eight maps, and tables and figures provide statistics of the immigrants; records of sending parishes and sponsorship in England; and information on settlements in Upper Canada. Illustrations are drawn from contemporary sources.
    "An invaluable resource for historians and genealogists," citation, J.J. Talman Award

    In Part Two, Mary McDougall Maude presents a list of emigrants on Petworth ships from 1832 to 1837, including details of their background, family reconstructions, and additional information drawn from Canadian sources.

  • Part Two of Assisting Emigration is the most complete listing of genealogical records of Petworth individuals and families. The lists grouped on this site as "Indexes to Emigrants" provide additional tools to access this master list and also add some new information.
  • This list of some 1600 Petworth emigrants is organized according to the "families" or "households" in which they emigrated. The entries on this list note relationships and connections between emigrants, summarize project files, and list sources.
  • Genealogical research for this project was done in England by Sheila Haines and Leigh Lawson (partners in Kinship) and in Canada by Brenda Dougall Merriman.

  • Key to the list, Part Two, Assisting Emigration
    The list is organized, as shown below, with line divisions | used to indicate different kinds of data. The field names included in the list are in italics.

    Name of emigrant | age at emigration, birth, baptismal dates, death date | Spouse: name of spouse, marriage date and place | age of spouse at emigration, birth, baptismal dates, death date | Children: names of children, birth dates, baptismal dates, death dates (marriages) | information on religion | From: parish sending emigrant | To: place in Canada of first settlement; later places of settlement | Occupation Eng: | Occupation Can: | year of emigration | ship (for 1832 emigrants only) | Assistance: people or organizations who enabled the person or family to emigrate | Other data of interest
    Source: sources of information in brief

    Sample Entries
    Cosens (Cosins), Charles Sr | 59, b 1771, d 27 Dec 1846, bur Turner Churchyard, Tuckersmith Twp | Spouse: Ann Goodchild | 43, b 1786, d 3 Apr 1853, bur in Turner Churchyard | Children: 11 children emigrated: Hester 21; Cornelius 20; Thomas 18; Mary 18; Elizabeth 16; Caroline 15; Nathaniel 13, bap 30 Jun 1818 Fittleworth, d 19 Sep 1894; Francis William 11, bap 21 Dec 1820 Fittleworth; Ann 8, bap 14 Oct 1823 Slinfold; John 6, bap 10 Oct 1824 Slinfold; Jesse 5, bap 23 Feb 1827 Dorking, d 26 Jun 1878 in London Asylum; Mary Ann d 1832 | Charles, Ann, and Jane buried in Turner Cemetery, Wesleyan Methodist | From: Dorking, Surrey (Redland Farm) | To: Waterloo Twp | Occupation Eng: Agricultural labourer | Occupation Can: Farmer | 1832 | Lord Melville | Assistance: Dorking Emigration Society | Another daughter Jane m William Tilt and d in childbirth in 1832. Anna Cosens m Robert Landsborough in Canada. Thomas Cosens was listed in the 1851 census for Wilmot Twp with his wife Ann and 8 children between the ages of 14 and 3.
    Source: Letters from Dorking, 10; Letter from Ann Miller Cosens, 31 Mar 1833; AO, Huron Co., Tuckersmith Twp, Turner Cemetery; RG 21, Gore District Census, 1833, 1834; WSRO, PAR 86/1/2/1/, PAR 176/1/2/1; SRO (GMR), PSH/DOM/3/1; Christian Guardian, 19 Feb 1868; Daily Telegraph (Berlin), 15 May 1907; Listowel Banner, 12 Jul 1878; Correspondent Harold Cosens

    Cosens, Charles Jr | 19 | Spouse: Ann Miller, m 20 Feb 1832 Dorking, 20, d by 1871 | Children b in Can: Henry, George, Charles, Mary and "expection of another" (all b between 1833 and 1839); 1871 census: Flacherd 26, Joseph 19, Jane 14, Albert 8 | Primitive Methodist (1871) | Charles has given up cricket & other "transitory trifles"; he has taken to "a religious course of life" (Sep 1839) | From: Dorking, Surrey | To: Waterloo Twp, Upper Block, Halton Co., Gore, later Blenheim Twp, Wallace Twp, Perth | 1832 | Lord Melville | Assistance: Dorking Emigration Society
    Source: Letters from Dorking, 14-15; Letters from Ann Miller Cosens 1833, 1839; SRO (GMR), PSH/DOM/2/2/3; NA, RG 31, Canada Census, 1871 Wallace Twp; Correspondents Eunice M. Brake, Harold Cosens\\