Jersey emigrants to Newfoundland

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Emigrants to Newfoundland

Channel Islanders, and particularly Jerseymen, emigrated in large numbers to Canada in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Most were attracted by well-paid, secure jobs with the companies established
in Newfoundland and New Brunswick, on the Canadian Atlantic
Coast, to trade in cod, which abounded in offshore waters.

This is a list, by no means comprehensive, of some who emigrated to Newfoundland


Small's diary, as transcribed on Newfoundland Grand Banks "We entered La Poile Bay in the afternoon, and anchored in the first cove on the larboard hand, where there is a small settlement, and a considerable mercantile establishment belonging to Mr Anthoine, a native of Jersey." Surname Anglicised to Anthony in Newfoundland. (JM)


Will of Francis Berteau Sr. 1908 as transcribed on Newfoundland Grand Banks references "the oil paintings of myself, and my late wife, painted by my Brother Thomas Berteau." and also "items purchased in Jersey", as well as several other references to other children and works by Thomas. Francis would appear to be the brother of Thomas Berteau, artist of Jersey. Francis Snr settled in Burin, Newfoundland, but later became a magistrate in Twillingate. He sent his son Francis Cyril back to Jersey to be educated. Per the Newfoundland Encyclopedia, Francis Cyril Berteau (1856-1945) went on to become comptroller and auditor-general of Newfoundland. [JM]


Philip Brown, "native of Jersey", buried in Harbour Grace 20 December 1775, per Harbour Grace Anglican burial records. Possibly an Anglicization of LeBrun? (JM)


Peter Briard travelled from Jersey to Newfoundland about 1803, before moving on to Paspebiac.


John Cabot. Probably from Jersey or descended from an islander, to Newfoundland. Married Mary O'Brien, of Anse-a-Loup. Several children.


John Clements, age 80, buried at Harbour Grace Feb 7, 1802, "Merchant of this Harbour", Harbour Grace Burial records. (JM)


Thomas Falle from Jersey to Newfoundland in 1790, to Forteau in 1806, as navigator for Poingdestre.

Per the Newfoundland Encyclopedia entry for the town of Burin "In 1830, two brothers from Jersey, Richard and Eli Falle, began the firm of Richard Falle and company near the present-day Jersey Room in Little Burin Harbour." [JM]


In a student essay on the History of Harbour Main by Alice Strapp, available at Newfoundland Grand Banks, she notes the following: "In an 1805 survey taken by Governor Sir Erasmus Gower, we get a full account of the town with its coast boundaries, who claimed it, the people occupying it at the time etc. A close study of the names has aided us in discovering that the majority of inhabitants of Harbour Main are English or Irish descendants, but there are a few exceptions. The LaCours and Fureys are French. They, at one time, were referred to as the 'Joisey Birds.' ”

The 1805 report of Gower that the Fureys were French seems unlikely as there was little or no French settlement in Conception Bay. What is far more likely is that the Fureys were French speaking Jerseymen. This idea is supported by the reference to the family as being "Joisey Birds" = Jersey Birds? and their apparent close association with the La Cours, another Jersey surname. The French surname Ferey/Feret may have thus have been Hibernicized to a more familiar Irish homonym by the largely Irish community of Harbour Main.

LeMessurier also considered Furey to be a Channel Island surname, but derived from La Huray. This derivation cannot be entirely discounted, however Feret/Ferey seems much closer to Fury in terms of pronunciation.

Charles Furey was elected as a member for Harbour Main district in the election of 1861, and George Furey of the same place was shot dead in an election-related riot. The Fureys continued to be active in Newfoundland politics into the 21st century (see biography Chuck Furey). [JM]


Philip Thomas Filleul, born in Jersey in 1852, married Jessie Anderson in Burgeo, Newfoundland, in 1890. They had three sons. Howard Mason (1890- ), Clarence John (1894- ) and Philip (1896-1961). Philip Thomas was born in St Helier, the son of Philip and Betsey Marie Machon E Filleul from Jersey to Conception Bay, Newfoundland in 1790 as salesman.

J.Murray: E Filleul may have been Elias Filleul, noted in Seary's "Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland" as claiming property in Port de Grave (Conception Bay, Newfoundland) in possession of the family for 120 years. Filleul in Port de Grave may have been later Anglicized to Filler as Seary also notes a later reference to Ann Fillier of Port de Grave, 1816. Port de Grave is near Harbour Grace, an early centre of Channel Island fishing activity.


Admiral Nicholas Fiott from Jersey to Newfoundland about 1743 as merchant, then to Labrador about 1770. Married Ann Dumaresq.

J Murray: Fiott also active in Conception Bay. Charles Garland purchased land from Nicholas Fiott in Harbour Grace in 1771.


Jim Clement Hacquoil of Jersey deserted from the Royal Navy and settled in Turnip Cove as Jim Clement. His change of name was discovered in what proved to be a posthumous search for him as a beneficiary in a relative’s will. His descendants thenceforth assumed Hacquoil as the family name. Elie Hawco. Probably descendant of a Jersey pioneer named Hacquoil at Conception Bay, Terre-Neuve. Married Catherine Hallahan. Daughter Ellen, married John Hayward in 1884 at Rivière-Saint-Paul.


Thomas Hamon. Probably from Jersey or descendant from pioneer Jerseyman to Little Cove, Terre-Neuve before 1880. Married A Nerée. Son James about 1880 to Rivière-Saint-Paul and Salmon Bay, Labrador, son Peter about 1878 to La Tabatière, Pinware and Blanc-Sablon.


George Harvey (b. 1780, Jersey) and his daughter Ann Harvey (born Newfoundland) are still local heroes in Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland for their role in saving the lives of nearly 200 people in two shipwrecks in 1828 and 1838. See biography of George Harvey on image of a plaque in Isle aux Morts. Their heroism has been commemorated throughout the town, and in the epic poem Ann and Seamus, written by well-known Newfoundland author Kevin Major with illustrations by David Blackmore. This poem was the basis for a chamber opera which premiered in Newfoundland in 2007. The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Ann Harvey is named in honour of Ann Harvey.

Le Gresley

Jeanne, Jean and Elie Le Gresley, children of Jean Le Gresley all baptised Nov 17, 1757 in St. Ouen, Jersey. Baptism records note "born Newfoundland" - per . Le Gresley is not a surname found in Newfoundland today, however Seary, in "Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland" asserts Greeley is a possible variant of Le Gresley. He reports a family tradition of Joseph Le Grizzly from the Channel Islands, who settled at Ladle Cove. He also notes early instances Elias Graley at Portugal Cove in the 1794-5 census, and a John Grealy, of Hibb's Hole, 1783 (possibly Jean and Elie Le Gresley baptised 1757?) (JM)

Le Marquand

John Le Marquand from Jersey to Newfoundland, Cap-Breton and Paspébiac about 1845 as carpenter. Married Delphine Castilloux.


Philippe Messervy, born in St. Saviour Jersey in 1769, became one of the first permanent settlers of Sandy Point, Newfoundland. While no concrete evidence appears to exist, it is believed he settled prior to 1800 and was noted as being in residence for a long time in 1822. He married Susanne Dennis, who was the daughter of an Irish settler and had nine children. He fished for salmon and herring, participated in maintaining the fishing rooms on behalf of mercantile owners in Jersey and England, and began an enterprise as a trader with his son John Messervey. They captained several ships and traded goods primarily between Halifax, Nova Scotia and Sandy Point. Many of Philippe's family relocated eventually to Halifax, while others remained in Newfoundland.


Albert Winter Nicolle, who was born in St Lawrence, Jersey, in 1862, emigrated to Canada and died in Mulgrave Mill, Nova Scotia in 1949. He married Jessie Mauger, born in Petites, Newfoundland, in 1866, and they had five children, Herbert Winter (who moved to Minnesota, USA) , Clement Charles, May Louise, Walter George and Charles Philip, between 1888 and 1903. Although Jessie’s father Thomas John and grandfather Philip were also born in Petites, the family name suggests that they were of Jersey origin.

Albert Winter Nicolle’s brother Walter Adolphus (1861-1948) also emigrated to Canada, but we have no record of any marriage or children.

John Winter Nicolle, born in Jersey in 1857, married Elizabeth Payne, born in 1860 in Bonne Bay, Newfoundland, in 1882. She was the daughter of Billy Payne and Esther Decker, and seemingly also of Jersey descent. They had four sons – William Thomas (1884- ) , who married Diana Francis in 1906 and raised a family in Newfoundland; John Winter, Arthur and James, born between 1893 and 1913, but we have no further information on any descendants. John Winter was the son of Philip Nicolle and Jane Marguerite de la Cour. He left four brothers and three sisters behind in Jersey when he travelled to Canada.

Philippe Nicolle, born in Trinity in 1775, the son of Jean and Elizabeth Le Masurier, emigrated to Canada before 1796 when he married Elizabeth Forsey (1780-1856) in Grand Bank, Newfoundland. She was only 16 at the time. They had six children, the first born the year after their marriage, and the last in 1818

J Murray: Nicolles in Newfoundland appears to date even earlier. Clement Nicole, "of the island of Jersey" was buried in Harbour Grace Oct. 9, 1778. Harbour Grace Anglican burial records.

See also the following article by the Maritime History Archive at Memorial University of Newfoundland re Nicholle and co at Jersey Harbour. The Nicolle operation at Jersey Harbour was later bought out by the Jersey firm of DeGrouchy, Renouf, Clement and Co.


John Picot (1820-1860) who lived and died at Sandy Point, Newfoundland, and married Amelia Amy Haynes (1822-1875) from Somerset, was almost certainly a Jersey emigrant. John and Amelia had six children between 1848 and 1860 – Amelia Ann, Joseph, Isabella Ann, Elizabeth Alice. William Henry and James Albert


Philip Alexander Renouf, born in St Helier in 1820, (possibly the son of Jean and Jeanne Mourant) emigrated to Newfoundland as a young man and married Margaret Parsons, supposedly born in Trinity in 1826, (we have failed to find any record for her in Jersey) in Sandy Point, when she was only 16 in 1842. They had ten children between 1843 and 1876, all of whom lived and died at Sandy Point, or close by in Newfoundland.


Charles Richardson, of Trinity Parish, Jersey, buried at Carbonear, Newfoundland, Aug 4, 1778. Harbour Grace Anglican burial records. (JM)


Eliza Rowe age 77, "Widow of Elias Rowe, formerly of Jersey" buried in Harbour Grace, Feb. 16, 1815. Harbour Grace Anglican burial records. (JM)


Joseph Skinner, "a native of Guernsey, serv to Robert Ash in Carbonear" buried Nov. 27, 1779. Harbour Grace Anglican burial records. (JM)


The Sorsoleil family from St Lawrence, Jersey, arrived in Newfoundland in the early 18th century, but it has proved difficult to work out which of them were the first emigrants. Jean, born in 1702, the son of the Rector of St Lawrence, Jean Baptiste Soroleil (1684-1729) and Nicolle Guillet (1675-1763), had perhaps as many as ten children by two wives, Sara Renaut and Elizabeth Morel, between 1730 and 1774.

One of his sons, William, died in Newfoundland as a teenager – his exact age is disputed, but he appears to have been only 16 – in 1750. It may be that he was the only member of his family to emigrate at this time and that the name died out with him, but Philip Sorsoleil, born in St Helier in 1820, the son of Francois and Mary Le Boutillier, also moved to Newfoundland and died there in 1794, having married Eleanor Matthews (1826-1855). It is not known whether they had any children.

  • Our family tree needs further research because the ancestry of Francois is very confused, with his supposed mother, Elizabeth Le Cras, shown as the wife of his brother, not of his father.
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