What events fueled the Quebecois migration to New York and New England in the mid 1800's?

+1 vote

My French Canadian ancestors start showing up in the United States in Northern New York , Vermont, and Massachusetts in the mid-1800's. I always assumed they came down here for jobs. But was that the only reason? Were there any other forces at work? Tension with the English? The American Civil War?  I read a book a while ago, The History of Quebec, a Patriote’s Handbook by Leandre Bergeron, that debunked the prevailing idea that the country was started when “one day the two partners decided to become one country” as a myth. Was there a political migration? Did they encounter resistance like so many other nationalities did when they first came to the United States in numbers? I'd like some on line links, maybe some book suggestions, but more important (to me, anyway) informed opinions.

asked in Genealogy Help by Bob Scrivens G2G6 Mach 1 (16.6k points)

2 Answers

+1 vote
Best answer
(The complete series listing in English)
Hello Bob
above is a link to a Youtube Video on The Patriots Rebellion of 1837.  After the open Rebellion life in Québec became a bit harder for the French speaking. The Acadians
were forceablity deported during the Seven Year War between the French and English. Since some of the Acadians fled to Québec. There are about 34 videos in this series which will be worth viewing. There are also French videos in the series. 


answered by Joseph St. Denis G2G6 Mach 2 (30k points)
selected by Vincent Piazza
Noticed that one of the towns mentioned in the rebellion was St. Denis. Was that where your ancestors came from?
A lot of the family were in the area they  where farmers  and soldiers. So far I have not found the location of the farm or the land grant.
The more I hear about our ancestors, the more it sounds like ethnic cleansing. The deportation of French from Arcadia sounds like the "kindest" thing the English did during that period--and that was pretty bad! We are lucky to be living where we are and when we are now.
0 votes
Hi Bob,

You may get the answers you need from the people involved in the Quebecois Project and the link for the project is:

the http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Quebecois
answered by Billy Wallace G2G6 Pilot (210k points)

I just viewed you point of interest. There were several reasons for French Canadian leaving for the US, some linked to the 1810-1814 war, some to the 1837 rebellion, probably more through the years between 1760 and 1846 because of the lack of opened territory to new settlers, namely the numerous children of the French Canadian residents and of course, the industrialisation in the US which required a lot of labor, cheap labor then.

If you want a good start, read "Invasion of Canada - by Pierre Burton. Two tomes, very interesting. Well written.
I can't speak for the entire migration and, as you point out, there was a broad migration.  {I know some of the immigrants from Quebec settled in the 1880s in Chicago founding the parish of Notre Dame on the near west side.}  For myself my gg-grandfather, Charles, migrated from Chicoutimi in 1868 with his wife and two children arriving in Northport, MI to make his way as a lumberman.  I asked the same question of a fellow family historian from Quebec City.  His characterization: primarily economic times were tough during the second half of the 19th century in Quebec.  I am intrigued by the references above to more detailed sources.

Since you mention that your gg-grandfather migrated from Chicoutimi Qc, I'll tell you that the Saguenay area where Chicoutimi is located was opened up by lumber entrepreners (the Price brothers, Peter McLeod) who bullied their way all over the settlement for years, fighting married settlers because they wanted to maintain their monopoly with support of the provincial government. They even fought the so powerful catholic church, using the Bishop's influence in Quebec City to transfer out of the region the only priest fighting against them, father Jean-Baptiste Honorat.

Times were very hard here and no wonder many settlers left never to come back. So much could be written but to have a first view at the situation, here are 2 links that will tell you much more::



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