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University of Guelph Library
Scottish Emigration

The Library’s archival, rare, and special collections section can be reached by taking the single elevator or stairs in the south-east corner (past the Circulation/Reserve area) to the lower level where researchers can use materials in the Wellington County Room. TRELLIS, the TriUniversity Libraries catalogue, is the primary tool for identifying and locating materials in Archival and Special Collections. TRELLIS can be accessed via the public terminals through the Library home page (, where various electronic resources, such the rare books in Early English Books Online and Eighteenth Century Collection Online are also available.


The collection was begun in 1965, shorty after the History Department was formed at the university, as part of the Scottish Studies Collections. Interest in Scottish emigration stemmed from the first chairman of the Scottish studies programme. Everything that was available was purchased for the early period (1637-1651), using grants from the Macdonald Stewart Foundation and the general library allocation. Due to the prominent role the Scots played in the settlement of Upper Canada, the Eastern Townships of Quebec, and Canada in general, and the knowledge that first rate primary manuscript material was in the larger community, emigration was an obvious subject specialization within the larger Scottish studies area.


All aspects of Scottish emigration from the eighteenth century to the present are covered, although the level of intensity varies with Ontario, Canada, and the Commonwealth countries. With Ontario, everything, especially manuscript material of nineteenth century settlers is actively collected, while for Canada, this is done somewhat selectively, and for Australia, for instance, printed works only are purchased. The library does not actively seek manuscript materials on pre-eighteenth century emigration to Europe, but does acquire all printed materials available in this area. Family papers are included in the Goodwin-Haines, Fasken, Mickle, Connon, Watt-Argo, Anderson, Lizars, and H.B. Timothy collections, all of which are concerned with Scottish emigrants to Ontario.


English predominates, but material in any language (French, German, Latin, and Gaelic) is collected if it is on Scottish emigration. Gaelic material in the form of pamphlets and books describing prospects in Upper Canada, and Canada in general, is particularly sought.


1,500 monographs, theses, serials, pamphlets, broadsides, maps, and other ephemera are represented in the printed collection, and 12 linear meters of manuscript material in the archives.


All titles are catalogued or coded. Access is via the library’s online catalogue. LC classification is used. Government documents are coded in the CODOC system. The archival collections are coded in an adaptation of the cataloguing and coding system.


The collection is open to the public. The hours of opening for circulating books in the library are posted. Rare and archival collections are open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. (4:30 in summer).

Interlibrary Loan:

Available except for rare and archival materials


Yes, as the condition of the material warrants, and as the copyright allows.

Reference Assistance:



Various elements of the collection are described as follows:

Watt-Argo Collection, Clow, Cynthia M. -- "Letters from Home". -- Collection update -- No. 7 (May 1983). -- [Guelph, Ont.]: University of Guelph Library, 1983.

Connon Family of Elora, Clow, Cynthia M. -- "The Elora Picture Gallery". -- Collection update. -- No. 8 (1983). -- [Guelph, Ont.]: University of Guelph Library, 1983.

Fasken Family, Goodger-Hill, Carol. -- "The Fasken Family Collection: a Scottish family in Nichol Township". -- Collection update. -- No. 9 (1986). -- [Guelph, Ont.]: University of Guelph Library, 1986.

Goodwin-Haines Family, Troyer, Gloria. -- "The Goodwin-Haines Collection". -- Collection update. -- No. 9 (1986). -- [Guelph, Ont.]: University of Guelph Library, 1986. –

Lizars Family, Cuncliffe, Vera. -- From Edinburgh to Colborne Township : Daniel Lizars and the Pioneer Collection at Guelph. -- Guelph, Ont.: University of Guelph Library, 1984.


Goodwin-Haines Collection.                                                            archives        XR1 MS A120-A166

Lizars Family Collection.                                                                  archives        XR1 MS A054

Fasken Family Collection.                                                                archives        XR1 MS A180

Connon Collection.                                                                            archives        XR1 MS A113

H.B. Timothy Collection.                                                                   archives        XR1 MS A277

Mickle Family Collection.                                                                  archives        XR1 MS A279

And here is an account of an emigrant voyage from Scotland to America...

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