It began as a trickle towards the end of the 18th century then, before long, thousands and thousands of men, women and children were making life-changing journeys from England across the oceans, bound for the unknown. The majority just vanished, unheard of for years and years, perhaps for always, leaving their families back here to explain their absence by simply saying "Oh, they've gone to Canada" or "Oh, they've gone to New Zealand - or Australia"- or wherever it happened to be. There was no time to write - the settlers were too busy just surviving in their new lives and back home, who could read a letter even if one did arrive?
Until quite recently, the family historian who wanted to know more about the lives of their lost ancestors, had very limited resources to gain access to information but things are changing. Access to Canadian information has certainly improved with the creation of a very, very useful website run by David Hutchfield which calls itself FOREVER ENGLAND:
Patiently, and over many years, David has explored the cemeteries of Ontario in Canada and many places further afield, recording hundreds of Monumental Inscriptions relating to people who were born in England - many of which say where the person was born. Using this site together with the Canadian Census of 1881 (which can be found on www.familysearch.org), it's possible to link with people who, many years ago, left Devon ( and other English counties) for a new life in Canada and never returned.
Should you need more sources, the 1901 and 1911 censuses for Ontario are available at
The Canadian census returns are not accessed in quite the same way as ours are but it's well worth learning how they works - the name of the place in which you must search is given by David Hutchfield in the cemetery address at the top of each of his cemetery lists.
We made a random decision to follow the life of a man called Emanuel Lang whose memorial inscription appears in one of David's records, beginning with the available records relating to our side of the Atlantic. Here is Emanuel's memorial record, which includes the names of other members of his family, as it appears in FOREVER ENGLAND: