British Origins

British and Irish Origins to 1951

In the early 1900s, censuses divided Immigrants from Great Britain into two groups. Until the 1951 census, immigrants of Irish origin were reported separately from those of other British origins. As you can see from the table of Montreal Population Statistics, the number of residents of Montreal claiming Irish ancestry stayed fairly steady in the first 20 years of the 1900s, being almost 40,000 in 1901 and increasing to about 42,000 by 1921.

The following table shows the increase in population by group, according to the 1901, 1911 and 1921 censuses. Of course, some of the increase is due to natural increase and some to immigration. The data in the following table was taken from:

McNicoll, C. (1986). L'evolution Spatiale des Groupes Ethniques a Montreal, 1871-1981. Thèse de Doctorat. Paris: École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.

Immigrants from England

The Shill-Bartholomew family

The working class family of John Shill and Ellen Mary née Bartholomew were immigrants from England who arrived in Montreal, Canada separately between 1906 and 1908. Father, John Shill, arrived first. Next, their eldest son, Jack (John) Shill, arrived several months before his mother and the rest of his siblings, May (Marion), Annie, Bert, Grace and Nell (Ellen). The eldest daughter, Cara (Caroline), stayed in England.

Before coming to Canada, the family lived in London, Middlesex and the towns of Melton, Bredfield, and Felixstowe, in Suffolk. Daughters Cara and Anne Shill and Ellen Shill Waddell tell the story of their life in England before coming to Canada.

The Berglas Family - To Canada via London, England

English Ancestry

The Shill family

John Shill’s family genealogy can be traced fairly reliably back to the 1841 Census in Colsterworth, Lincolnshire. His English ancestry centres mostly on the London area and Colsterworth. John Shill’s daughter, Cara, who stayed in England, tells her sisters what she knows about the extended Shill family.

The Bartholomew family

Ellen Mary Bartholomew’s English genealogy centers mostly around the area of Fareham, Hampshire, in southern England where the Bartholomew family at one time owned the Fontley Iron Mill.

Read about the town of Fontley in an article from the Hampshire Telegraph and Post published March 11, 1949.

By the time Ellen Mary came to Canada, her parents, sister Sarah Jane and brother William Henry had already died. Her sister Cara and some nieces and nephews still lived in the Fareham area.

Immigrants from Scotland

James Verner Waddell

James Verner Waddell, who arrived in Montreal, Canada in December 1921, on the S.S. Pretorian, was one of many Scottish immigrants.

Robert McNabb Waddell and family from Edinburgh

Scottish Ancestry

The Waddell family

James Verner Waddell’s Scottish genealogy hails from Lanarkshire. He spent his childhood from 1899-1915 in the Glasgow suburb of Govanhill. His Scottish ancestors lived in the parish of Old Monkland.

Immigrants from Ireland

John Fishbourne,one of three brothers born in Dublin who came to Canada, lived for a time in Leicestershire. He enlisted for service in World War 1 and is listed on the St. Lambert War Memorial. Read about him in A Soldier's Tale.

Return from Origins to Home Page

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how... Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?Click on the HTML link code below.Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable. var l = window.location.href, d = document; document.write('<form action="#"><div style="text-align:center"><textarea cols="50" rows="2" onclick=";"><a href="'+l+'">'+d.title+'</a></textarea></div></form>');

Search this site:

Share Your Immigrant from Britain Story

Do you have an ancestor or ancestors who immigrated to Montreal from Britain?

Your ancestor’s story is part of the fabric of Montreal’s history. Enter it below and I’ll publish it for you at

Your title should include the immigrant’s name and country of origin in Britain so it can be grouped appropriately.
For example: John Smith from Bristol, England or The Robertson-Murray family from Glasgow, Scotland.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Why did my father travel to Canada apparently alone? 
I am 63 and retired, living in York, UK. My parents' past has to a large degree evaded me. We were never a sharing, talkative family. The details …

Betty Hayes (nee Beryl Victoria May Mottershead) from Cheshire UK 
My Mother Betty Hayes left the family home in Southall Middlesex in 1960 never to be seen or heard of again. After several unsuccessful searches in …

John Fishbourne from Dublin Ireland 1864-1917 A Soldier's tale 
A Memorial to Fallen Soldiers In a ceremony on the afternoon of Sunday 9th July 1922 General Sir Arthur Currie unveiled the City of St Lambert's Soldiers …

Elsie Cooke from Bristol, England 
We believe that Elsie Cooke immigrated from the Bristol England area in 1913 to Canada. We are searching for more information

Elizabeth & Annie Edwards from Chester, England Not rated yet
Elizabeth was my wife's Grandmother and Annie was her younger sister they emigrated together on 4th May 1912 form Liverpool to Quebec (SS Teutonic) then …

Another Waddell Family Not rated yet
From Edinburgh, Scotland to Montreal, Canada On August 15, 1919, after travelling by train from their home in Edinburgh, the Waddell family departed …

Click here to write your own.