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Finding Ancestors When You Don't Know a Port of Arrival in Canada or Year of Immigration

Where did your Ancestor Arrive in Canada?

From 1865 on, most immigrants to Canada arrived at the port of Quebec, and during the winter months,at the ports of New York, New York, Boston, Massachusetts, Portland, ME and later to Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick.

There were smaller ports of arrival that you should consider -

Your ancestor may have arrived at an American Port and then travelled across the Canada-U.S. border to settle. You may want to check the 5 major ports of arrival in USA: New York New York, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Baltimore Maryland, Boston Massachusetts and New Orleans Louisiana

Think about where your ancestor settled. Then choose a port of arrival that was closest. If your ancestor did not settle in or near a Port City, which arrival port had the most common, the fastest, the easiest or the cheapest route to get to your ancestor's local settlement area?

Check census records and land records to see where your immigrant ancestor settled after arrival.


When Did Your Ancestor Arrive in Canada?

If you are not sure of the approximate year of your ancestor’s arrival, search other records for clues:

The 1901 Census gives a year of arrival for immigrants.

The 1842 "Census" for Ontario gives the number of years individuals had been in the Province

Land Records are helpful because immigrants often applied for land shortly after arrival.

Annual City Directories can help narrow down an immigration year.

Death Records sometimes give the number of years the deceased had resided in Canada.

The National Registration of 1940 (the compulsory registration of all adults in Canada from 1940 to 1946) asked for the year of arrival. Download the online order form

Naturalization Records can also be helpful in determining an immigration year and port of arrival


Did Your Ancestor Arrive in Canada as Part of an Ethnic Group Immigration?

Over the years, there have been various immigration and emigration groups of passengers. Check these for help with a brick-wall ancestor's immigration or passenger list

From Cork, Ireland to Québec City, Canada in 1818 - The Talbot Party

Irish Famine Immigrants at Grosse Ile

Mennonites on Passenger Lists to Canada

Home Children from England to Canada 1865-1935

Peter Robinson Settlers England to Peterborough Ontario 1823, 1825

The Petworth Project - Assisted Emigration from England to Ontario

Doukhobor Ships Lists Index (Russian immigration to Canada)

How to Find Your Hungarian, Croatian, Romanian, Slovak and Czech Ancestors



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