This Website

This website was created to present the nominal data from the Mannion Collection digitization project described below. It is provided as a public service, and any questions regarding the data can be sent to Any issues regarding the site and its functionality can be sent to

The Project

The objective of this project is to place online the unique record of migration and settlement in Newfoundland, 1750 to 1850, collected over a lifetime by historical geographer Dr. John Mannion and his wife Maura. The research is recorded on handwritten notecards which have been digitized for presentation and viewing.

The project is a joint venture between Memorial University (Dr. Sean Cadigan) and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Cadigan has been the principal investigator on three Heritage grants from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Emigrant Support Program, awarded through Memorial University to support the digitization of the Mannion collection. Additional support has been provided by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Accessing the Name Files

The data include information on some 7500 immigrants who are identified by town, parish, townland or county of origin in Ireland. Probably five times that number of Irish immigrants, not identified by specific place of origin, are also listed.

Walter Dower is chosen here as an example (a direct link to the card referenced). He was a native of the Catholic parish of Killea near the modern town of Dunmore East in the far southeast of County Waterford (see map attached, showing parish of Killea, and a virtual tour courtesy of Google Street View).

Walter Dower was born around 1785 and emigrated to Newfoundland around 1805. He married Elizabeth Kavanagh alias Stokes in St. John's in 1811. She was the widow of John Kavanagh and was a native of Bay Bulls. The witnesses to the marriage were John French, probably of Petty Harbour, and Esther Coady, probably of Bay Bulls (a direct link to this second card).

The documentation is not clear, but it is possible that Walter Dower and his new wife resided, at least initially, at Bay Bulls. A son, Laurence, was baptized in 1812 (a direct link to this third card). The godparents were Edmond Heffron (Heffernan) likely of Petty Harbour and Elizabeth Coady of Bay Bulls. We now have seven surnames recorded. Each one can be checked in the name files.

There is no further reference to Walter Dower until 1817. William Hyde issued a writ against him in December 1817 for £4.19.0 in St. John's. A second suit was issued in 1818-1819 by Alexander Burke for £3.10.0. Hyde and Burke were both resident in St. John's. In 1818 Walter Dower witnessed the marriage of an old world neighbour, Michael Byrne of Killea to Margaret Flynn of Waterford in St. John's. It is the only reference linking Dower to his home parish.The final records for Walter Dower are in 1828 and 1829 when the Crown charged him with assault. He was found guilty on both counts and gaoled.

On February 26, 1797, the daughter of a Laurence Dower of Killea married there. The witnesses were William and John Power (see attached). While the entry is incomplete, we can suggest that Miss Dower was born ca. 1775, her father Laurence c. 1750. Walter Dower and Elizabeth Stokes eldest son was baptized Laurence (1812, Basilica Parish Records). If they followed naming custom, and most did, Laurence (1812-) was called after his paternal grandfather, Laurence Dower. Since the Dower surname was relatively rare in Killea, and the full name, Laurence Dower, rarer still, it is likely that Laurence (c.1750-) is the father of Walter (c.1785-), the emigrant. We do not know the townland of origin in the parish in 1797. In 1848, Griffith's Valuation records three Dower households in Killea, two in Leperstown and one in the townland of Ballymabin. Pinpointing Dower locations at the time of the migrations to Newfoundland requires further field and archival study. The Ordnance Survey for the parish in 1837 depicts the geography of settlement as Walter Dower would have known it, with the Catholic chapel, cemetery, medieval church in ruins, holy well, school, houses, outbuildings, and fields.

All names on an index card have been typed and are listed in Search Records. Under Walter Dower, for example, we have Stokes, Kavanagh, French, Coady (2), Heffernan, Hyde, Burke, Byrne, Flynn, Murphy, Cronin, plus a list of plaintiffs, jurors and witnesses for the two court cases. There were nine separate Dower households in St. John's in the early 19th century: John, Laurence, Mary, Michael, Michael, Nicholas, Patrick, Walter and William. Almost certainly all the men were born in Ireland but only Walter (Killea) and William (Bunmahon, Co. Waterford) are recorded by place of origin.

Three important documentary sources are relevant in tracing Walter Dower's Waterford roots. The Catholic Parish Registers for the parish Killea survive from 1780, the Tithe Applotment Book a census of farms 1823 - 1834, and Griffith's Valuation 1847-1864. These sources exist for every parish in Ireland.