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Passenger Lists to Canada Before 1865

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze of http://olivetreegenealogy.com/index.shtml (Article may be republished or distributed in its entirety providing this header, all URLs and copyright notice are left intact)

There are no comprehensive lists of immigrants arriving in Canada prior to 1865. Until that year, shipping companies were not required by the government to keep their passenger manifests.

There are individual projects and databases online that may be of help in your search

Shipping Company & Customs Agents Records

There are a few surviving passenger lists which were kept by shipping agents in the originating country. The Passenger Books of J & J Cooke, Shipping Agents gives sailings from Londonderry to Quebec and St. John New Brunswick from 1847 to 1871. These are online at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/jjcooke.shtml

St. Lawrence Steamboat Co. Passenger Records 1819-1836 at http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/passengerlists/1819_20index.shtml

The Hawke Papers, letterbooks of Chief Emigrant Agent Anthony B. Hawke are also available at the Archives of Ontario. They cover the years 1831 to 1892. See the searchable database for years 1865 - 1883

Names of Emigrants from the 1845-1847 Records of James Allison, Emigrant Agent at Montreal is online at /ships/emigrants-montreal1845-1847a.htm. This an index only but if you find a name of interest you can consult the published book.

There is also the Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada 1861-1882 which gives the final destination of the individuals, their date of arrival at Kingston and more. It is found at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/kingston1861oct-1862may.shtml

Immigration Projects Online

Ships passenger lists for Peter Robinson Settlers sailing 1825 Ireland to Canada are online

Petworth Immigrants 1832-1837 at http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/passengerlists/petworth.shtml

Emigrants from England in New York City Almshouse 1818-1830 - 254 names of English immigrants to Canada & USA including the name of the ship they sailed on at http://www.allenglishrecords.com/almshouse-a-f.shtml

If you are looking for Irish ancestors, you may want to search the online database Irish Immigrants at Grosse-Īle at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/immigration/immigration-records/immigrants-grosse-ile-1832-1937/Pages/immigrants-grosse-ile.aspx This database has information on 33,026 immigrants whose names appear in surviving records of the Grosse-Īle Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937.

Search Engines

There are search engines to search multiple websites for ships going to Canada at http://olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/search_shipscanada.shtml They include most ships lists on the Internet going to Canada and the online InGeneas databases for immigration to Canada 1800s

New Brunswick Arrivals

The Saint John Customs House Passenger Lists 1815, 1832, 1833-1834 & 1837-1838 are the only known surviving lists from this time period. Some can be found online at http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/passengerlists/saintjohnindex.htm Most of the Customs House records were lost in 1877 in the Great Fire of Saint John. Famine lists from 1845-1850 appear also to have been lost.

Mailing Lists

There is a mailing list called CAN-SHIPSLISTS-PRE1865-L for queries and discussion involving immigration to Canada before 1865. You can subscribe from this page http://lists.rootsweb.com/index/intl/CAN/CAN-SHIPSLISTS- PRE1865.html

Newspaper Arrivals

TheShipsList website has Quebec ship arrivals extracted from contemporary newspapers. See http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/Arrivals/index.shtml

Library & Archives Canada Holdings

There are a few ship passengerlists pertaining to British-subsidized immigration schemes for the period 1817-1831 and these are available from the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa.

The Miscellaneous Immigration Index is a nominal card index to some of those records and it is available for consultation in the NAC Reference Room. It relates mostly to immigrants from the British Isles to Quebec and Ontario between the years 1801 and 1849. The Miscellaneous Immigration Index has been put into a database, which you can consult on the InGeneas web site.

For immigrants from France, the NAC holds scattered records for the years 1732 and 1749 to 1760. Microfilm copies of these lists are available through ILL - ask your local library for help. You can also consult the NAC microfilm shelf-list for reel numbers.

Miscellaneous Websites with Immigration Information on Ships to Canada

Immigrants to Canada http://ist.uwaterloo.ca/~marj/genealogy/thevoyage.html

The Ships List http://www.theshipslist.com/

Ships Passenger Lists Online

Finding Ships Passenger Lists to Canada http://shipslists-online.rootschat.net/canada/

Ships Passenger Lists to Canada 1400-1930 http://olivetreegenealogy.com/ships/tocan1400-1800.shtml

Because ships passenger lists are so scattered, you should also consult ships passenger lists substitutes to try to find records of an ancestor's arrival. These substitutes include the following:

Passenger List Resources at the National Archives of Canada (Library & Archives Canada) Before 1865

Colonial Office Records, Groups 384 & 385
  • C.O. 384:

    This group is corresp ondence of the Secretary of State on immigration for 1817-1857. There are 60 reels of microfilm for Vols 1-99. There are lists of immigrants, mainly Irish, and entry books re immigration, and assisted emigration to British North America.

    The Finding Aid is on microfilm reel C 4252.

    The content is *very* specific, and is:

    • Vol. 1:
      • pp 129-133: 2 June 1817: list of passenger names
      • pp 178-187: Return of Protestant families emigrating from Co. Carlow and Wexford in Ireland Nov. 29 1817 - names of 710 familes consisting of 4070 individuals
      • pp 188-192: List of Roman Catholic families emigrating from Co. Carlow and Wexford Nov. 1817

    • Vol. 3:
      • pp 60-63: List of settlers on the Brig "CARLOW" at Greenoch, 21 July 1818 for Montreal
      • pp 66-67: List of settlers embarked on the SOPHIA at Greenoch 26 July 1818 for Montreal
The Archives notes that the qua lity of m/f is poor and frames are difficult to read. However the good news is that a complete extraction of all passenger names can be found on Finding Aid 384. This F.A. should be consulted first and if a name is found, the original m/f consulted for verification and additional detail.

  • C.O. 385:

This group is Entry Book records, with Vol. 2 providing a general list of settlers to Canada under the Gov't Regulations published at Edinburgh and dated 22 Feb. & 24 March 1815. This listing (Vol. 2) is available at the NAC in the form of photostats (no microfilm) but other portions of Vol 2 and the other vols of C.O. 385 are on microfilm. (Vols. 6,8,9, 10 which are the letter books are on Reel B-219)

Vol 2 contains a list of 757 settlers, 699 of whom left for Quebec in 1815 onboard ATLAS, DOROTHY, BALTIC, MERCHANT and ELIZA from Scotland. This is a detailed return with much information.

Finding Aid 90 which is NOT on microfilm, but in hard copy, covers all the C.O. records and the Archives will do a lookup or two for researchers.

The address of the National Archives of Canada is:

Genealogy Unit
Researcher Services Division
National Archives of Canada
395 Wellington St.
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0N3
Fax 613/995-6274
Phone 613/996-7458

You may also wish to join CAN-SHIPSLISTS-PRE1865.

This is a mailing list I host for the discussion and sharing of information regarding ship passenger lists, immigration records, naturalization records and ships' lists substitutes for immigration to Canada before 1865. To subscribe send "subscribe" to can-shipslists-pre1865-l-request@rootsweb.com (mail mode) or can-shipslists-pre1865-d-request@rootsweb.com (digest mode)."


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