Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Book Review: Ignored but Not Forgotten: Canada's English Immigrants

Lucille Campey's eleventh book is her third on English immigration to Canada following a series on Scottish immigration. It extends coverage in her previous books in the English series Seeking a Better Future: The English Pioneers of Ontario and Quebec and Planters, Paupers, and Pioneers: English Settlers in Atlantic Canada across the Prairie Provinces to the West Coast while summarising the previous works on the East. Additional chapters focus on the 20th century exodus, as a percentage of Canada's population immigration just before World War One far exceeded today's levels, child immigration, the perception of the English immigrant and, the journey to the eventual destination in Canada.
As with her previous books, Lucille has scoured archives in Canada and the UK for material that allows her to illustrate general patterns with anecdotal material bringing out personal stories, all carefully documented in nearly 100 pages of notes and bibliography.
In the census of 1921 Canadian residents born in England outnumbered the Scots and Irish-born combined. But the English in Canada didn't go about trumpeting their Englishness in parades and banquets. The Irish, Scots and Welsh retained homeland patriotic societies and traditions. St George's Societies enjoyed a transient existence but have virtually disappeared as the English chose to integrate into the Canadian mainstream. The English soon saw themselves as Canadians of British origin. Yet, Lucille writes, the English retained an allegiance to their home town, county or region, an interesting observation worth debating.
This book can be recommended to anyone seeking an overview of English migration to Canada and a guide of the many sources for in-depth research.
Ignored but Not Forgotten: Canada's English Immigrants, published by Dundurn, is available in paperback from various booksellers and in eBook formats.

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