Like the first volume in the series, this collection of records is based on materials found in the Nova Scotia Archives and the Public Archives of New Brunswick, among others, and it draws together a unique collection of miscellaneous records pertaining to Scottish immigrants to the Maritime Provinces, naming several thousand people in the context of major life events such as birth, marriage, and death. In records ranging from newspaper announcements of marriages and deaths to cemetery records and censuses, and from ships’ passenger lists to land records, it provides a tableau of source material which is as unique as it is indispensable. Thousands are named who would otherwise be undetectable in traditional record sources.
In an illuminating introduction the author writes: “The differences of religion and whether one was a Highlander or a Lowlander carried across the Atlantic to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. The Lowlander, more accustomed to towns and trade, gravitated to cities such as Halifax and Saint John, and the towns of Pictou, St. Andrews and Dalhousie. Much of the commercial life of early Atlantic Canada was conducted by Lowland Scots. This is apparent as we read through the newspaper death announcements and we notice that Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh turn up repeatedly among the urban and mercantile people.
“The Highlander, by contrast, prevailed in rural districts. Similarly, people sorted themselves out by religion. The area around the Bay of Fundy, the Bras d’Or Lakes and Pictou attracted the Presbyterian elements, while Antigonish, much of the Gulf of St. Lawrence coastline, and parts of Prince Edward Island were heavily Roman Catholic.”
With this background it is clear that Maritime Canada still bears the imprint of those thousands of immigrants who came from Scotland between the 1770s and the 1850s, and their collective memory remains alive and well.