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John M. Kelly Library Research Guides

SMC413H1: The Irish in Canada

SMC413H1: The Irish in Canada - Customized Resources

British Welcome and Welfare League, group of immigrants, Irish. Adapted with a PD license from the City of Toronto Archives.

British Welcome and Welfare League, group of immigrants, Irish. Adapted with a PD license from the City of Toronto Archives.

Article Databases

Search Summon

Known as Summon, this interdisciplinary database is UofT's largest--and your best bet when more focused databases let you down. It combs through more than 1,200 databases, journal packages, e-book collections, and other resources ranging from the sciences to the social sciences and humanities. At its best, Summon finds relevant results you won't find elsewhere; at its worst, however, Summon can overwhelm you will a mish-mash of results from different subject areas.

Covering the history of the United States and Canada, America History & Life indexes more than 1,800 journals from 1895 to the present.

Historical Abstracts covers the history of the world (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. The database contains over half a million annotated entries.

Bibliography of British & Irish History (BBIH)


Palmer's Index to the Times

Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900

Catalogue Search

Historical Newspapers


For the micofilm version, go to the Media Commons Library on the 3rd Floor of Robarts.

Comprises The Evening Star (1894-1900), The Toronto Daily Star (1900-1971), and The Toronto Star (1971-2015).

Printing: Very difficult in Google News. The only real way to print is to use ALT-PrtScr (Print Screen) on your computer: this will copy the page. Then paste the image into a word document where you can crop it.

Zooming: Click the zoom in and out magnifying glass icons in the top-right of the horizontal blue bar above the newspaper pages.

Printing: Click the print icon in the top-right corner.

Zooming: Click the zoom in and out icons in the bottom-right corner.

Search: Irish Canadian 1863-1875 (UofT: Paper of Record)

New York Daily Tribune, 1842-1866

Quebec Spectator, 1848 (Google News Archive)

America's Historical Newspapers

Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers

In Print

Toronto Leader (at the Toronto Reference Library), 1837-1865

Toronto Mirror (at UofT)

Toronto Mirror (at the Toronto Reference Library)

Also available at the Toronto Reference Library's Baldwin Room: The TPL Reference Library has issues from Jan. 12, 1859 to Dec. 28, 1864, then there is a gap until June 1872. The 1859-1864 issues are bound with another Toronto newspaper, The (weekly) Leader. To visit the Baldwin Room please call: 416-393-7156.

On Microfilm

Media Commons Newspapers on Microform

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

With more than 9,000 articles on subjects ranging from politics, law, engineering, and religion to literature, painting, medicine, and sport, this encyclopedia is a key resource for Irish studies. The entries, written by established academics, contain bibliographies to guide students in further research. The 9-volume set is so detailed that you get thorough articles on a wide range of people, from internationally-famous figures such as the poet W.B. Yeats to lesser-known persons such as Denis Kilbride, a 19th Century agrarian campaigner and MP.

Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History - A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia

Canadian Encyclopedia

Both online and in print, and containing more than 1,500 articles, this 5-volume set is the major encyclopedia for Celtic studies.

Oxford Companion to Irish History

Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History: War

Archival Sources

WWI Attestation Papers - Library & Archives Canada

Look here for historical primary government sources, such as parliamentary debates (hansard) from the late 19th Century. Much of this is online.

Canada Yearbook: Immigration and Emigration

You can use this directory to look up information by (1) street name; (2) person or business name; or (3) subject. For example, using the street index you can find residences and businesses listed there alphabetically by street name; using the person / business name index you can find businesses by title or people by last name; finally, using the subject index, you can and browse businesses alphabetically by topic--this is really useful if you don't know the name of a particular business but are interested in clothiers, or printers, accountants, etc..
You can search the fulltext for keywords.

The Labour Gazette gives monthly reports--from July through June--on labour and industry in Canada. Beginning each month with a broad across-the-country summary, the Gazette then provides a detailed report for each geographical region, such as Toronto, ON, and District. You can search the fulltext for keywords.

Narrow your search by Any Keyword to MG26-A to limit your results to the Macdonald Papers. You can narrow further--e.g. by correspondent or keyword--using the other search rows. When entering single date digits (e.g. 1 January 1865), add a zero in front and format like this: 1865-01-01. Here's an example:

Macdonald Papers - Search example

InterLibrary Loan (Register Here)

Census Data


Search the 1901 Census


This search option is ideal if you're looking for a specific person, or if you're trying to narrow by ethnic origin (e.g. Italian, Chinese, or Scotch).

Census Districts & Sub-Districts

Census Search Help

Use these detailed maps for a neighbourhood sketch: businesses, taverns, churches, schools, associations and other buildings that can help you understand where Torontonians worked, how they lived, what they believed, and what they did for fun.

Goad's Fire Insurance Plans - In Print

Use CTRL-F to search for streets you're looking for, and the database will tell you the corresponding district and sub-district numbers.

Browse by District Number and then Sub-District Number to find census schedules by location.


Search the 1921 Census