Census, Migration

Irish (also English and Scottish) Origins, Canadian Sources: William Pigott’s enumeration of Fitzroy township (1851)

Here are my Moran ancestors in the 1851 census of Huntley township, Carleton County, Ontario (Canada West):

James Morin household, 1851 census of Canada West (Ontario), Carleton County, Huntley, p. 85, lines 44-50.

James Moran (here Morin), Farmer, born Ireland, religion R. [Roman] Catholic, age 54 at next birthday; with wife Margaret [Jamieson], also born Ireland; and children Thos [Thomas], James,1 Mary, Margaret and Alexander (my 2x great-grandfather, who married Mary Ann Leavy), all born Upper Canada.

Place of birth “Ireland” (no Irish county specified) for Irish emigrants to Canada is pretty much the standard for the 1851 (and 1861, 1871, and so on) Canadian census enumeration.

But here are my Galligan (Gallaghan) ancestors in the 1851 census of Fitzroy township, Carleton County, Ontario (Canada West):

Patrick Gallaghan household, 1851 census of Canada West (Ontario), Carleton County, Fitzroy, p. 77, lines 46-50.

Patrick Galligan (Gallaghan), widower [of Mary Cullen], Farmer, born Cavan, Ireland, religion Roman Catholic, age at next birthday 40; with children Bridget (my 2x great-grandmother, who married Patrick Killeen), Mary, Daniel and John, all born Cavan, Ireland.

The inclusion of an Irish county (Cavan) under Place of Birth supplies a pretty key piece of information, obviously.  When I was first figuring out the Galligan line (I had my great-grandmother Bridget Loreto Killeen from my father, but who were her parents? well, Patrick Killeen and Bridget Galligan, as it turns out), Pigott’s recording of Cavan, Ireland was extremely helpful.

As another example of Pigott’s attention to detail, here is Anne Galligan, daughter of Patrick and Mary Cullen and sister of Bridget, a little further up the page, listed as a servant in the household of John Murphy:

John Murphy household, 1851 census of Canada West (Ontario), Carleton County, Fitzroy, p. 77, lines 10-21.

Three different Irish counties recorded here: Mayo, Tyrone, and Cavan. Most census enumerators would have recorded only Ireland as place of birth. Also three different religions (which would have been recorded by any 1851 enumerator): Church of England [Anglican], Church of Scotland [Presbyterian], Roman Catholic). Note that many (well over half, and possibly as many as two third of) Irish emigrants to Fitzroy were Protestant, not Catholic. This site focuses on Irish RCs because that’s who my ancestors were, but Catholics were actually a minority amongst Irish emigrants to Fitzroy and Huntley (but a majority amongst the Irish who settled in Pontiac Co., Québec, and parts of  Renfrew Co. as well). If you do not know the religion of your Ireland-to-Canada ancestors, you should not assume Catholic, but should check the sources (with the Canadian census as a good starting place, since it recorded religion — a notable difference from the US federal census, btw).

For the majority of Irish-born residents of Fitzroy township, William Pigott recorded an Irish county of origin. In a few cases, he recorded only Ireland; in some cases, he listed something more specific than a county (a town or townland, e.g.).

Moreover, Pigott also recorded place names for those born in England or Scotland (North Britain in Pigott’s enumeration). Thus, Samuel Amon, Taylor [tailor] (p. 107, line 12), for example, was listed as a native of Stone House [Gloucestershire], England — most enumerators would have listed only England as his place of birth; while his wife Mary Amon’s birthplace (p. 107, line 13) was recorded as Colerain [presumably Coleraine, Co. Tipperary], Ireland (both were Church of England [Anglican] in religion). And according to Pigott’s enumeration, the Rev. Alexr Henderson, a Presbyterian clergyman (p. 105, line 1), was born in Alloe [presumably Alloa, Clackmannanshire], N. Brit. [North Britain, for Scotland]; his wife Margaret (p. 107, line 2) was born in Perthshire, N. Brit.; and their children A.B., John, Anne, and Alexr Allen (p. 107, lines 3-6), were born in Dunblaine [Dunblane, Stirling], N. Brit.

And here is William Pigott’s own household, as enumerated by himself. The birthplaces of his children are an interesting reflection of his military career (as an Ordnance clerk and then officer):

W.D. Pigott household, 1851 census of Canada West (Ontario), Carleton County, Fitzroy, p. 105, lines 22-32.

W.D. [William Dowdall] Pigott, Officer Ordnance, born Dysart, Queen’s Co. [Co. Laois], Ireland, religion Church of England, age 56 at next birthday; wife Eliza [Colley] Pigott, born Belcarrig, Wexford, Ireland; daughters Anne C. and Isabel Jane born Valletta, Malta; son A. Colly W. born Belfast, Ireland; children Edwd D.B, Elizabeth G., and John A. W. born Wexford, Ireland; and the youngest two children, Mary Anne D. and Frances H. born in Canada. Also a servant, Ellen Handley, widow, born Tipperary, Ireland, religion Roman Catholic.

If your Irish (or English or Scottish) ancestors originally settled in Fitzroy township, Carleton Co., Ontario, you must consult the 1851 census: there’s a good chance William D. Pigott recorded a crucial bit of information for you.


  1. James Moran, son of James and Margaret Jamieson, had recently died, at the age of 27. His death is listed under column 30 (Deaths during year 1851), with cause of death recorded as “collara” (cholera).