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Ask a Genealogist: Researching an ancestor from New Brunswick, Canada.

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Question:

Where did Thomas Bickerton come from in England and who were his parents? Thomas's son John Bickerton was born in 1816 in England. John's my 2nd great grandfather. Thomas had a land Petition in 1819 in Westmorland N.B. Canada. John owned land in Sackville, New Brunswick Canada. John's son Joseph Alonzo Bickerton had a farm called Fairfield next to his father John Bickerton. My Grandfather lived here. How or where do I find where Thomas came from and who were his parents & what ship did he sail?

Answer:

By Rhonda McClure, NEHGS Genealogist

The land petition that is dated 1819 is actually the petition of Robert Hawkes, which includes Thomas Bickerton and also James Williamson. If you haven’t ordered a copy of this from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, or viewed the microfilm of this land petition, you will definitely want to do so. Information for requesting a copy of the petition is found directly below the entry at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick’s web site http://archives.gnb.ca/Search/RS108/Details.aspx?culture=en-CA&Key=4504 along with costs for the copy and who to make the out a check.

In addition, there is a Federated Search on the Provincial Archives site that might offer you more hits on Thomas and John Bickerton once they are in New Brunswick.

When it comes to immigrating to Canada from England, it is important to remember that this is largely like moving from Massachusetts to Connecticut except there is a big body of water in the way. This means that there are no records of emigration from England and no records of a British Isles subject coming in to Canada. Both England and Canada are under the same monarch and as such are citizens of the same government, especially at the time in which Thomas and his son come to Canada. As a result, there is not likely to be any indication of the ship on which they traveled.

In regard to where they are coming from in England, you will need to exhaust all records in New Brunswick to see if you can determine the mother of John Bickerton. You could look at the names given to the daughters of John Bickerton as potential names for his mother.

Additionally, FamilySearch.org has amassed a large database of British baptisms and marriages that have been extracted from the Bishops’ Transcripts of the parishes in England. It is possible that you may be able to locate some potential individuals to track more thoroughly by doing a search there for a John Bickerton, born in England, say between 1812 and 1814 with a father Thomas.
Armed with the possible individuals, you could research them forward to see if they are still in England when you know that your Thomas and John are now in Canada. This could potentially eliminate all but what could ultimately be your John, thus giving you the location of origin in England.

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