Research at Library and Archives Canada
Passenger lists (RG 76) were the official record of immigration during this period; there are no immigrant applications or files.
The lists contain information such as name, age, country of origin, occupation and intended destination. They are arranged by port and date of arrival, with the exception of some years between 1919 and 1924, when an individual Form 30A was used.
The Government of Canada did not keep records of people leaving the country; there are no passenger lists for departures from Canadian ports.
The Extent of the Records: Ports and Years Available
Passenger lists exist for the following ports of entry:
About the Records
The lists are arranged by port and date of arrival. If you do not know those details or the name of the ship, you must search the unindexed lists by year.
The arrivals at Quebec from 1865 to 1900 have been indexed by name. Using the online database, you can search by name of passengers to access digitized images of original passenger lists which list the name, age, country of origin, occupation and destination of each passenger.
A similar index exists for arrivals at Halifax from January 1881 to February 1882 (microfilm reel C-15712).
The passenger lists from 1865 to 1922 have been digitized and are available online. The database allows you to access the passenger lists by name of ship, port and date of departure and/or port and date of arrival.
Individual Form 30A was used during this period. If you do not find a reference to an immigrant in those records and he/she arrived between 1919 and 1922, we recommend that you search the passenger lists for those years.
The passenger lists for these years contain more details such as:
These lists are arranged by port and date of arrival. A database is available, which provides the volume, page and microfilm reel numbers for the actual records. The database was compiled from old nominal indexes that usually did not include the names of returning Canadians, tourists, visitors and passengers in transit to the United States. If you do not find a name in the database, you may have to search the actual passenger lists.
Chinese Immigration Records
Additional records exist relating to immigrants from China. Please consult the Aboriginal and Ethno-Cultural Groups section on Chinese.
Immigration Records (1925-1935) database
Immigrants at Grosse-Île (1832-1937) database
Your Roots for The Hamburg Passenger Departure Lists 1850-1934 (passenger lists and departures from Hamburg, Germany) [www.germanroots.com/hamburg.html]
The Nordic Emigration (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) [www.migrationinstitute.fi/index_e.php]
Extensive collection of passenger list indexes and information about ships, shipping lines, ship wrecks and Irish orphans in 1847.
Immigrants to Canada [http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/%7Emarj/genealogy/thevoyage.html]
Indexes for some passenger lists and information about ships, immigrationhandbooks and journals of voyages.
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild [www.immigrantships.net/]
Network of volunteers who index passenger lists from various countries, including Canada.
Pier 21 National Historic Site [www.pier21.ca/]
Information about the history of the Pier in Halifax, ship photographs and immigrant stories.
Odessa, A German-Russian Genealogical Library, Ship and Immigration Records [www.odessa3.org/collections/ships/]
Nanaimo Family History Society, Passenger List Indexing Project [http://members.shaw.ca/nanaimo.fhs/]
Ongoing project for indexing the passengers lists of the ports of Halifax and Quebec City between 1900 and 1921.
Doukhobor Genealogy Website [www.doukhobor.org/]
United Kingdom outbound passenger lists, 1890-1960
Scottish Emigration Database
Use AVITUS to find other Web sites about immigration using keywords such as "passenger," "immigration," "Mennonite," "Norway," "Germans" and "Titanic."
Research in Published Sources
Consult our Bibliography for further information on this topic.
Research in Other Institutions
Immigration records After 1935 are in the custody of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Many Provincial Archives hold records relating to immigration.
Arrivals at American Ports
Many immigrants to Canada arrived at American ports. The American lists held at Library and Archives Canada include only the names of passengers who were proceeding directly to Canada. The complete lists are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States.
American Immigration Records (Ship Passenger Arrival Records) [www.archives.gov/genealogy/immigration/]
Ellis Island Database (New York arrivals, 1892-1924) [www.ellisisland.org/]
Boston Passenger Manifests 1848-1891 [www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcsrch/ PassengerManifestSearchContents.html]
Castle Garden (New York Arrivals, 1830-1891) [www.castlegarden.org/about.html]