Q is for Quebecers:
Quebec is one of ten provinces in Canada. With an area of nearly 600,000 sq mi, it is the largest of Canada’s provinces; and with a total population of nearly 8 million, it is the second-largest in population. Natives of Quebec are often referred to as Quebecers (Québécois). As of 2006, 5.5% of Quebecers identify themselves as Irish. About 40% of these Irish Quebecers, or Irlando- Québécois in French, reside in the Montreal region of Quebec.
The first Irish Quebecers trace back to when Quebec was called “New France” (1608-1763). These Irish Quebecers were among the Catholic Irish that served Catholic monarchs following the Reformation. During the early 1800’s when Quebec was a part of a province called “Lower Canada” (1791-1841), thousands of Irish were drawn to the region due to rising overpopulation, enclosure policies, crop failures, famine, and a serious cholera outbreak was hitting the population of Ireland, particularly by the 1830’s when my 4th great grandfather, Felix Kiernan (ca. 1796-1882), and his wife and children, became Irish Quebecers. In addition to these push factors, employment in the shipyards and wharves, along with new agriculture prospects, encouraged Irish immigration to Lower Canada at this time. The greatest number of Irish immigrants to Quebec occurred during the Great Irish Famine years and afterwards. Today the Irish presence in Quebec can be seen during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Montreal, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people.
Q is for Quakers:
Q is also for Quakers. The term Quakers refers to members of the Religious Society of Friends, a Christian denomination founded by George Fox in the 1640’s. Their central doctrine is the “priesthood of all believers” for whom the word of God is given.
As the numbers of Quakers increased, so did their persecution. Several legislative acts were passed in England targeting Quakers, including the Quaker Act (1662) and the Conventicle Act (1664). To escape persecution, many Quakers sought new lives in the American Colonies. In fact, the Province of Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, a Quaker; and by the end of the colonial period in America, Quakers ranked fifth largest among the various denominations.
In a previous post, I explored my Quaker roots on both my paternal and maternal sides. On my paternal side, my Quaker roots trace back to John Lapham (1635-1710), my 8th great grandfather who immigrated from Devonshire, England. On my maternal side, my Quaker roots trace back to John Worthington (1604-1691), my 11th great grandfather who immigrated from Cheshire, England, and William Gifford (ca. 1615-1687), my 10th great grandfather who immigrated from Devonshire, England.
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