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Emigration to Canada

Whilst two families - the Knights and the Cooks - are known to have emigrated to Ontario in the 1850s, it was not until nearly 50 years later that emigration to Canada really took off, folks from Badsey and Wickhamford preferring to emigrate to America instead.

In the early 20th century, emigration from Britain reached unprecedented levels, with over 3 million people leaving between 1903 and 1913, particularly in the years 1911-1913. The most popular destination during these years was Canada, drawing almost half of Britain’s emigrants.  Several families from Badsey and Wickhamford set out for a new life in Canada.

There were various reasons why emigration should be so popular.  In Europe, agriculture and industry was being transformed, there was a huge increase in population, and the old social structure order was collapsing.  In Canada, the Yukon gold rush of 1897-1899, the first continental railway (completed in 1885), the closing of the American frontier, new developments in dry land farming, and the Canadian government’s first concentrated policy to promote immigration, all contributed to people being tempted to venture overseas.  Canada’s trans-continental railway, the Canadian Pacific Railway, led to the creation of Vancouver and other newer urban settlements.  This sparked a major wave of railway-based immigration which created the farms, towns and cities of the Prairie provinces.

Liverpool was one of the main gateways for emigration from the UK to Canada.  Most of the emigrants sailed from Liverpool, arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or St John, New Brunswick, which were both ice-free ports, some ten days later.  If travelling in the summer season, Montreal and Quebec City were also accessible.  They would then have a long destination, usually by rail, to their destination. 

An article written in about the 1970s tells of pioneering days at the beginning of the century.  It is written by Inez Rose Sjøgren (née Cox), who was two years old when she left these shores.  It relates to the Cox family, but gives a vivid picture of what life would have been like for any of the other families setting out for a new life overseas.

The following people are known to have left Badsey or Wickhamford to settle in Canada.  Information has been obtained from Badsey parish records, census returns, school admission records and records on Ancestry and Findmypast.