Chief Emigrant Agent's letterbooks Help

Ontario Government Record Series RG 11-1

Chief Emigrant Agent's letterbooks

About these records

Chief Emigrant Agent's letterbooks
Dates of Creation
Physical Description

6 volumes of textual records

Scope and Content

Series consists of letterbooks (also called "entrybooks") containing transcribed copies of outgoing reports and correspondence of the Chief Emigrant Agent for Upper Canada / Canada West (A.B. Hawke) while posted at Toronto and Kingston. These volumes offer a detailed picture of the concerns, responsibilities, and daily work of the Chief Agent as well as issues relating to immigration during this period. Formal reports, which are addressed mainly to the Civil Secretary and later also to the Provincial Secretary, can include descriptions of work accomplished in assisting immigrants, summaries of expenditures, remarks on the characteristics and numbers of immigrants arriving, descriptions of problems and issues, recommendations for improvements etc. Starting in the 1840s, printed forms are also found interleaved in these volumes for the collection of statistical and other information on wages, cost of living, and the characteristics of arriving immigrants.

Letters are on a wide variety of topics. Starting around 1842, the Chief Emigrant Agent for Upper Canada regularly wrote to his superior, the Chief Emigrant Agent at Quebec (A.C. Buchanan) to submit statistical returns and accounts, and to report on day-to-day matters concerning immigration. The latter included availability of jobs in Upper Canada, characteristics of arriving immigrants, assistance to particular groups or individuals, efficiency of procedures in assisting immigrants, expenses etc. Also found are letters to other emigrant agents under his authority, responses to inquiries from potential emigrants or their representatives in Britain or the U.S., etc.

Subjects include: the settling of commuted pensioners, loss of immigrants to the U.S., emigration societies, the labour market, hospitals and boards of health, cholera and typhus epidemics (including the 1847 epidemic affecting Irish immigrants fleeing the Potato Famine), child immigrants (including Home Children), widows and other women immigrants, availability of land, transportation conditions (including steamers and railway lines) etc. Entries are in chronological order.

Restrictions on Access
Original records closed, researchers must consult microfilm.
Terms For Use and Reproduction
Copyright is primarily held by the Crown. There are no restrictions on reproduction. Permission of the Archives of Ontario is required for publication; submit a Request for Permission to Publish, Exhibit or Broadcast Form.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Records were acquired by the Archives of Ontario from the Butler Library, Columbia University, in December, 2000.
Associated Material

Library and Archives Canada holds correspondence from the Chief Emigrant Agent. See in particular RG 7 series A1 and RG 5 series C1 for correspondence from individuals including the Chief Emigrant Agent received by the Civil Secretary and Provincial Secretary respectively. See also RG 7 series G16C and RG 5 series C2 for office copies of outgoing correspondence of the Civil Secretary and Provincial Secretary respectively to individuals including emigrant agents.

The Archives of Ontario holds selected microfilms from Library and Archives Canada's RG 5 and RG 7.

Related Material

See Volume RG 11-2-0-1 (Kingston Emigrant Agent's letterbook) for contemporary correspondence.

See Series RG 1-6-2 and Series RG 1-2-4 for outgoing and incoming correspondence of the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

See series RG 1-157 Fiats for land grants - Military emigrants and sub-series RG 1-53-17 Descriptions - Military emigrants for records relating to the settling of emigrants under the direction of military authorities.

Availability of Other Formats

Series is available on microfilm.
Finding Aid
A volume listing is available for this series.

View an online list of these records.

Agency or agencies that created these records

These records were created by the following Ontario government agency or agencies. Click on the agency reference code for information about this agency and other records it created.

1835-1841 :

Crown Lands Department (AA100) Emigrant Office (CA515)

1841-1852 :

Emigrant Office (BA586)

1852-1867 :

Bureau of Agriculture (BA73) Emigration Office (CA1575)

1867-1869 :

Department of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Public Works (AA70) Immigration Branch (CA612)

How to order these records

From our Reading Rooms

To view this material, consult the volume list, and then retrieve the appropriate reel of microfilm.

Scroll up to "Finding Aid" for more information about any available finding aids or listings.

By Microfilm Interloan
These records are available through the Archives of Ontario's Microfilm Interloan Service, which allows you to borrow microfilmed archival records through a library or other institution that participates in the interlibrary loan system.