Online talk: Emigrant Families at Sea: Scottish migration to Canada, 1770s-1850s

16 December 2021, Starts: 17:30, Ends: 18:30

Emigrant Families at Sea: Scottish migration to Canada, 1770s-1850s

Online talk by Dr Elizabeth Ritchie

Organised by UHI Centre for History. See their website for details on how to join.

Many Scottish emigrants to Canada travelled as part of a family unit. Historians have been good at evaluating the experience of the transatlantic voyage by class and by gender, but to travel as a family also made a different experience - for men, women and children, both for better and for worse. It could lend a sense of security and a sense of purpose to the journey, but travelling with dependents also made everything slower, more expensive and more difficult. The impact of the journey on families – their very constitution, their daily patterns and life events – could be dramatic. Shipboard life could be a liminal space where the usual gender roles became flexible, but not always. Life events - births and deaths - were even more stressful in the crowded conditions of steerage than usual. And in some cases, it was the emigration journey, intended to benefit the family, which instead broke the family unit. In this talk Dr Elizabeth Ritchie considers how travelling as a family affected Scots' experience of the transatlantic voyage, and how the voyage affected their experience of family life.

Elizabeth Ritchie is senior lecturer at the Centre for History, University of the Highlands and Islands. She is interested in the social and cultural history of the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Highlands, with an especial focus on religion, education, land use, and the family.  

Archaeology for Communities in the Highlands (ARCH), The Goods Shed, The Old Station, Strathpeffer, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV14 9DH
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