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Article Published July 14, 2001

Rick Roberts Editor's Corner
By: Rick Roberts,

University of Waterloo Receives Archives of The Petworth Project

WATERLOO, Ont.-A historical account of the emigration of venturesome English people to Canada in the 19th century has now found a home at the University of Waterloo's library.

Susan Bellingham, head of special collections, said the University of Waterloo library is pleased to announce that its Doris Lewis Rare Book Room has received the family history archives of a major research project entitled "The Petworth Papers."

The official presentation will took place on Friday, May 25, 2001 as part of the opening session of the Ontario Genealogical Society's 40th Annual Seminar, which was held on campus from May 25-27.

These papers document the Petworth emigration scheme which, in the 1830s, saw more than 1,800 people, sent out from Sussex, England, to Canada. Centered in the Petworth, England, and established under the auspices of the third Earl of Egremont, the scheme sponsored emigrants to many parts of Upper Canada (Ontario) including the Waterloo area.

Leaving behind a life of hardship and poverty, one of those emigrants, Thomas Adsettt in 1833 described his experience in Waterloo as follows:
    "My children is in good place: my two girls is in as good places as the world can afford, and they are bringing them up like two young ladies. And my boy is at another place, about three miles from my girls, and he is going to learn to be a tanner and currier, and I think that it is one of the best places in the country. The people is so agreeable here. The people I am now among is Dutch (i.e. Pennsylvania-Dutch) and English, in general. The place is called Waterloo, where I live and my children."
This major research project has been undertaken with researchers working in England and Canada for the last 10 years. They have studied the details of the emigration scheme as well the emigrant families, their reasons for leaving England and their new life in Upper Canada. The donated collection contains the working papers of the project's researchers, copies of documents relating to the emigrants as well as details about many of the families.

The Petworth Emigration Project was sponsored by the Reverend Edward J.R. Jackman, himself a descendant of a Petworth family, and the project is supported by the Jackman Foundation.

Recently, two books have been published documenting this research entitled "These papers will add substantially to the library's holdings in local and urban history and will complement the papers of emigrants to this area from both Germany and Pennsylvania which are already present in the collection housed in the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room," Bellingham said.

Contact: Susan Bellingham, (519) 888-4567, ext. 3122;

Source: Press release.

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