Migration, Queries

William McKelvey, Killyleagh, Co. Down, Northern Ireland to Canada

A reader is looking for information about his great-uncle William McKelvey (Mckelvy/McKelvie/Mckelvie), who emigrated to Canada in 1924.

William McKelvey, son of James McKelvey and Sarah Adams, was born in Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland about 1894. On 28 January 1915, he enlisted with the 16th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, and served throughout the First World War. In religion he was a Presbyterian; and his last known occupation was that of Farm Labourer.

mckelvey william canada arrival mar1924
Arrival of William McKelvey, 14 March 1924

On 14 March 1924, William McKelvey landed at Halifax, Nova Scotia, having sailed as a third class passenger on the S.S. Regina.1 His passage was paid by the Ontario Government; and he presumably came to Canada under a settlement scheme of the Empire Settlement Act of 1922. In the declaration that he made upon arrival in Canada, he gave his destination as “Ontario Government Party of A. Macdonnell 172 Front St. West Toronto.” 172 Front Street West, Toronto was the address for an employment bureau run by the Ontario Department of Immigration and Colonization. But whether William McKelvey ultimately settled at or near Toronto is not known.

For a number of years after his emigration to Canada, William McKelvey would send Christmas and birthday cards to his sister (the grandmother of the reader who is searching for his missing great-uncle). And then one year (possibly in the 1950s?), the cards stopped; and the family never heard from William McKelvey again.

A younger brother Alexander McKelvey, born about 1903, also left home and lost contact with his family.

Any information of William McKelvey and/or of Alexander McKelvey, originally of Killyleagh, County Down, would be much appreciated.



  1. Library and Archives Canada; Form 30A Ocean Arrivals (Individual Manifests), 1919-1924; Rolls: T-14939 – T-15248; database online: Ancestry.com. Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924 . Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.