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Palatine Ships to Nova Scotia

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1749 to 1752
Location: [unknown]
Surnames/tags: palatine_migration nova_scotia lunenburg
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Summary written by Nancy Shaver, main source is “The Foreign Protestants and the Settlement of Nova Scotia” by Winthrop Pickard Bell. The ancestor surnames listed are those of Carolyn Eileen (Zinck) Shaver; Nancy Shaver’s mother.

The British governing board that looked after the settlement of Nova Scotia sought out foreign (i.e. non-British) protestants. The English were hard to persuade to emigrate, and often did not work out very well as settler. The colonies to the south had had good results with foreign protestants and found them very hard-working and capable settling new areas, so it was decided to recruit European protestants for Nova Scotia as well. Roman Catholics were not welcome.

The British government hired John Dick of Rotterdam as their agent to procure the emigrants and arrange for their transport to Nova Scotia. Dick sent agents up the Rhine River to find settlers. Posters and handbills were used to get the word out that the new colony of Nova Scotia was open for settlement.

There was a lot of competition between agents for the various colonies in those days, and competing agents spread rumours about how awful the Nova Scotia climate was, the lack of agricultural prospects, and the ferociousness of the Indian attacks. Also, once settlers arrive at Rotterdam they were sometimes convinced by another agent to sail for another colony.

Settlers were responsible for their own passage down the Rhine, although Dick’s agents would help to arrange it. Tolls had to be paid along the way as the boats moved through different principalities, and this would also slow down the voyage.

The settlers were mostly redemptioners. This meant that in return for their passage across the Atlantic, they owed the British government labour when they arrived in the new colony. Some passengers with the mean to pay their own way chose to be redemptioners instead, so that they could save their money to help them get established in their new land, and this was likely a good idea.

The board preferred as much as possible that young single men be recruited, but in actual fact many families, and even older family members, made the voyage. This was probably for the best in the long run, as records show that the families were more likely to remain in Nova Scotia and settle down there. There were some complaints from the board as to fact that older people were allowed to make the voyage, but entire families often moved together, and it was not really reasonable in those days of no social services to expect the old to be left behind. As well, emigrants aged 45 or more would be considered relatively old back then!

The emigrants were put aboard ships in Rotterdam.

From the ProGenealogists Palatine Project:


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Just happened to browse through this page and saw the Source for Bell's book. You might also like to know that it can be read online at archive.org - https://archive.org/details/foreignprotestan0000bell. A free login is required to read. It's like a virtual library - some books can be downloaded, some like Bell's can only be read online.

Bell's Register of Foreign Protestants is on that site also.

Also the NS Archives link to The Foreign Protestants above no longer works.

posted by Rod Corkum
edited by Rod Corkum
Through research, I discovered that both of my paternal grandparents' lines immigrated to Nova Scotia on the same ship, the Gale, in 1751 - Peter Clattenburg (and his wife) and Jacob Horn. What a discovery!
posted by Rhea Jennex