Irish immigrants in New Brunswick taught in one-third of New Brunswick schools by the mid nineteenth century, the majority quickly becoming licensed teachers shortly after their arrival and remaining in the profession. From 1784-1837 the Governor-in-Council (Lieutenant Governor in Council after 1786) oversaw matters of education, including making provision to pay teachers. In 1837 county school boards were established and made responsible for recommending applicants for parish school licenses to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. Government approved or denied applicants salaries based on a petition provided by local officials.
Teachers’ petitions from Irish immigrants requesting a license or payment for teaching services contain biographical information including names, country of birth, education, teaching experience, church affiliation, samples of handwriting and certificates from local school trustees or clergymen verifying the character and abilities of the petitioner.
The records gathered here comprise 509 of these petitions and copies of licenses or certifications from 1816-1858 declaring the petitioner’s country of birth to be Ireland. These Irish records represent a small portion of the 6645 teachers’ petitions which exist in RS655 Teachers’ Petitions and Licences, 1812-1882. Researchers should be aware that documentation on other Irish teachers no doubt exist in RS655 but only those records which state that the individual originated from Ireland are included here.