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In July EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum welcomed Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, to enjoy a visit to our museum. Our official genealogy partners at the Irish Family History Centre were also able to present Mr Trudeau with previous unknown findings and research of his Irish ancestry.

EPIC’s experts at The Irish Family History Centre led by genealogist Fiona Fitzsimons have traced the family history of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau back ten generations to the 17th century in Ireland. As Trudeau’s family history story will show, the story of Irish emigration often had many chapters in different locations around the world.

Through his mother, Margaret Sinclair, he is a direct descendant of the Bernard family from County Cork. In 1661 Francis Bernard married Mary Freake and had a large family consisting of 6 daughters and 2 sons. Francis died in 1689 defending Castlemahon against a Jacobite attack in the Williamite Wars. Prime Minister Trudeau is descended from their younger son, Arthur Bernard, who was High Sheriff of Cork in 1697 and M.P. for Bandon from 1713-14.

In 1695 Arthur Bernard married Anne Power, of Mount Eglantine, County Waterford. The Powers and their relatives the Boyles were very involved in the intellectual milieu (elite) of late 17th and early 18th Century Ireland. Arthur and Anne also had a large family, ten daughters and four sons, including Trudeau’s great (x6) grandfather Francis Bernard (their third son). Francis got his degree from Trinity College in 1729, but as a younger son had to carve out a career as he would never inherit land. He relocated to England. His grandson’s generation relocated to Singapore and Malaysia, which was then part of the colonial Indian ‘station.’ They remained there for a century, until 1906 when the Bernards emigrated to Canada.

Want to learn more about researching your family history and the amazing work the Irish Family History Centre do? Then click here to find out how you can discover your Irish roots!