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For several years I’ve worked with reams of primary source materials connected to my father’s family’s assisted emigration from Ireland to Upper Canada in 1825. This particular emigration was part of an ambitious social experiment conducted by Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies, who envisioned relocating hundred of thousands of paupers from Ireland, Scotland and England to Canada, Australia, South Africa and other British Colonies. The great interest in the outcome of Horton’s experiment — among its supporters and opponents alike — generated a remarkable set of documents, a good deal of them preserved in British, Irish and Canadian archives.

I’ve had my own plans for gathering, ordering, transcribing and publishing these primary source materials, and for making an original contribution to our understanding of this formative time in Canada’s history, on the eve of the Great Famine in Ireland.

Meanwhile, I’m exploring some “connected” interests, each with their own platform:

  • open, public sources vs. secured, private properties — data wants to be free, especially when it comes to family and local histories — (see my start on the early history of Upper Canada at allens-ucs.com)
  • crowd-sourcing — involving the collaborative, volunteer transcription of historical documents (see my initial community projects at peannairi.com)
  • web of data — exploring how the principles of Linked Data can connect our work with others’ (see ontogenealogy.com — oh yeah, that’s here!)
  • semantic web — exposing the results of all of the above (see uppercanada.info)

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