Theme 7: Irish Diaspora
This recording was compiled in the Metropolitan Church in Toronto. Russell Heard first outlines the history of the Methodist community in Canada. His maternal forebears’ name was Sparling, a Palatine family who came originally from Germany in the 1700s and settled in Rathkeale, Co. Limerick, at the behest of Queen Anne. During the Irish Famine years in the 1840s, the Sparlings, along with the Switzer and Atkins families, emigrated to Ontario, and settled in Quebec. Russell’s family and the Switzer family intermarried and settled on the outskirts of Toronto to farm the land. The three families remained close, retaining the regulations and customs of the Palatine community. Russell’s paternal family, the Heards, originated in York in England.