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Monday, 16 October 2017

If Your Scottish Ancestor Worked for the Hudson's Bay Company

Scots first started coming to Canada in large numbers starting in 1788 when the Hudson’s Bay Company ships brought Orkney men back to Canada to work in their settlement at York Factory, some 250 miles south of Churchill. In 1791, the HBC appointed local merchant, David Geddes to be their recruiting officer in Stromness where their ships stopped for supplies and water. 




By 1799, clearly three quarters of the men employed by the HBC were from Orkney. This connection between Orkney and the HBC carried on into the early 1900s. 



By the early 1800s, HBC was also recruiting in Lewis and Harris. Many Scotsmen married Cree women. Most from Orkney left their wives and families behind when they returned to Scotland, where the Hebrideans took their wives back and Cree descendants are still evident in the Lewis and Harris even today.


·        The HBC archives are on deposit at the Manitoba archives. In addition, the Orkney Archives in Kirkwall have records pertaining to the Orcadians who worked for HBC, including the contract between the HBC and the recruiters.

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