Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

Genealogy and Family History

What to Search: Topics

Immigration and Citizenship


Passenger Lists, 1865-1935

Page 1 | 2 | 3

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.

Research Tips

  • The lists recorded the names of all passengers regardless of their country of origin or nationality. This included visitors, students, returning Canadians and passengers in transit to the United States.
  • Lists for the port of Quebec include passengers who disembarked at Montreal between 1865 and 1921. Those ports were closed during the winter months when the St. Lawrence River was frozen.
  • Passengers from mainland Europe usually sailed to Great Britain, where they boarded trans-Atlantic ships at ports such as Liverpool, London and Glasgow.
  • Some immigrants to Canada arrived at American ports. For example, many ships sailed directly from Italy to New York.
  • Immigrants from Europe destined for western Canada landed at ports on the East Coast, then continued their journey by train. The names of train passengers were not recorded.
  • Ships arriving on the West Coast carried passengers from Asia, Australia and Honolulu.

The Extent of the Records: Ports and Years Available

Passenger lists exist for the following ports of entry:

  • Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec), 1865-1935;
  • Halifax (Nova Scotia), 1881-1935;
  • Saint John (New Brunswick), 1900-1935;
  • North Sydney (Nova Scotia),1906-1935 (these include mostly ferry arrivals from Newfoundland and St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, with a few passengers in transit from other countries);
  • Vancouver (British Columbia), 1905-1935;
  • Victoria (British Columbia), 1905-1935;
  • via New York, 1906-1931; and other eastern United States ports, 1905-1928 (these lists include only the names of passengers who stated that they intended to proceed directly to Canada).

Passenger List: SS LETITIA, Québec, 9 June 1912. Library and Archives Canada, RG 76 C1a, p. 18, reel T-4787.

Source

Passenger List: SS LETITIA, Québec, 9 June 1912.
Library and Archives Canada,
RG 76 C1a, p. 18, reel T-4787.

About the Records

1865-1922

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.

1919-1924

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.

Passenger List: SS AURANIA, Halifax, 3 February 1930. Library and Archives Canada, RG 76 C1b, vol. 1, p. 214, reel T-14823.

Source

Passenger List: SS AURANIA, Halifax,
3 February 1930.
Library and Archives Canada,
RG 76 C1b, vol. 1, p. 214, reel T-14823.

1925-1935

The passenger lists for these years contain more details such as:

  • the immigrant's place of birth;
  • the name and address of the relative, friend or employer to whom they were destined; and
  • name and address of the nearest relative in the country from whence they came.

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.

Research Online

Passenger Lists, 1865-1922

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]

ShipsList [www.theshipslist.com/]
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.

inGeneas [www.ingeneas.com/]

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/]

Ancestorsonboard.com [www.ancestorsonboard.com]
United Kingdom outbound passenger lists, 1890-1960

Scottish Emigration Database
[www.abdn.ac.uk/emigration/index.html]

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]

Related Topics

Citizenship

Chinese Immigration

Page 1 | 2 | 3