Canada is a nation of immigrants. Research will invariably lead to ancestors who arrived in Canada from elsewhere. The peak period for immigration was in 1913 and 1914, before the First World War brought a sudden end to the movement of people. Canada welcomed about 400,000 a year just before the fighting started, and has never reached that level again.
The best guide to Canadian immigration records is Destination Canada, by Dave Obee. The book includes more extensive web links.
Ancestry -- passenger lists indexed 1865-1935|
The most comprehensive passenger list collection.
Ancestry -- border crossing records 1908-1935
To search for people entering Canada from the United States.
Passenger lists 1865-1922
On the Library and Archives Canada website.
Quebec City passenger lists index 1865-1900
On the Library and Archives Canada website. Included in the Ancestry site above, but with free access.
Library and Archives Canada
Features include an index to arrivals 1925-1935, a naturalization index and more.
Ancestry -- outbound passenger lists indexed 1878-1960
This collection includes records of passengers arriving in the British Isles from Canada (and other non-European countries). In the absence of outbound records in Canada, this is a tremendous source for finding people who returned to the British Isles to live or for a visit.
Naturalization Records 1828-1850
Covers Upper Canada and Canada West. From Library and Archives Canada.
Ancestors on Board
Passengers outbound from England, 1890-1960. Cross-reference for your arrivals in Canada, with some years not covered by available passenger lists. Part of Find My Past.
Passenger List Indexing Project
The Nanaimo Family History Society has launched a remarkable project – indexing Canadian passenger lists from the early 1900s. So far, about 707,000 arrivals at Quebec, from 1904 through 1910, have been indexed.
Toronto Emigrant Office
Immigration records database 1865-1883. On the Archives of Ontario website.
New Brunswick Irish Portal
Maritime History Archive
On the site of Memorial University of Newfoundland. Includes crew lists.
One Hundred Years of Immigration to Canada
Forging Our Legacy - Canadian Citizenship and Immigration 1900-1977
Searches of the National Registration File of 1940
inGeneas Canadian Genealogical Research and Searchable Databases
Commercial site has searchable immigration databases that include almost 40,000 records spanning from 1748 to 1881.
The Olive Tree
Historical and genealogical information includes Ships' Passenger Lists.
Emigration Info - Ships They Came On
Lists of ships sailing to Canada, the ports, and the people.
The Ships List
Provides information on the ships used by our ancestors, as well as 1,800 passenger lists.
Pier 21 - Halifax
A major port on the Atlantic Coast. Pier 21 opened in 1928.
Germans from Russia arrivals
Halifax – 1900-1914
Quebec – 1900-1909 | Quebec – 1909-1914
Saint John – 1900-1909 | Saint John – 1910-1914
Collected by a team led by George Dorscher of Calgary.
Do not forget that some people came to Canada through the United States:
New York City passenger arrivals
Castle Garden (1830-1892) | Ellis Island (1892-1924)
Search the Ellis Island site in one step!
The largest collection of American passenger arrival records.
United States National Archives and Records Administration
For the 1940 National Registration:
Census Pension Searches Unit
Census Operations Division
B1E-34 Jean Talon Building
OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada K1A 0T6
For photocopies from the Library and Archives Canada:
Send orders by mail to:
Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0N4
Send orders by fax to:
Immigration records post-1935, and all naturalization records
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Public Rights Administration
365 Laurier Ave West
Ottawa, Ont., K1A 1L1
Each application must be submitted on an Access to Information Request Form by a Canadian citizen or a resident of Canada. The fee is $5, payable to the Receiver General of Canada.
By Dave Obee
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