Fur trappers and traders


Hudson Bay Canoes at Chats falls 1838

Hudson Bay Canoes at Chats falls 1838: Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1983-47-18

John D Reid over at the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog has just noted that the Hudson’s Bay Company Archives (HBCA) has created and uploaded biographical sheets on people who were employed by the Hudson’s Bay Company and/or the North West Company at http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/biographical/.

A large proportion of the company’s staff was Scots, whether emigrants or temporary seasonal migrants, especially from the Orkneys and Hebrides.  The biographical sheets outline:

the person’s employment history and may also include the parish of origin or place of birth; positions, posts and districts in which the person served; family information, if available; and references to related documents, including photographs or drawings.

The Hudson’s Bay Company was founded in 1670 as The Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson’s Bay. The original charter gave the company a monopoly of the fur trade in the 1.5 million square miles of land which drains into the Hudson Bay.

The Hudson’s Bay Company Archives is part of the Archives of Manitoba and is online at http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/index.html.  The Hudson’s Bay Company also has a dedicated heritage section on its website at http://www.hbc.com/hbcheritage/.

If you want to find out more about Scots in the Canadian fur trade, the the University of Aberdeen has a dedicated micro-site at http://www.abdn.ac.uk/materialhistories/index.php and Learning and Teaching Scotland explores the history of Scots emigration to Canada at http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/scotsandcanada/index.asp.  And don’t forget Library and Archives Canada who have their own dedicated genealogy and family history section.

Sheena

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