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Find Your Immigrant Ancestor on Ships Passenger Lists to U.S.A. & Canada

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Finding Ancestors on National Archives of Canada (NAC) Microfilm of Ships Passenger Lists

The National Archives of Canada (NAC) holds passenger lists from 1865 to 1935 (Record Group 76, C 1). These are the official record of immigration to Canada in that time period. Most are arranged by date and port of arrival. They include the names of all passengers: immigrants, returning Canadians, tourists, visitors and immigrants en route to the United States. They also include references to people who landed at American ports and indicated that they were proceeding directly to Canada.

A series of old nominal indexes exist for the period 1925 to 1935. They provide the volumes and page numbers on which the names of Canadian immigrants appear in the passenger lists.

The National Archives also holds lists of people entering Canada from or via the United States (Record Group 76, C 5). Those border entry records cover the period 1908 to 1935. Searchable indexes of passenger names exist for the years 1925 to 1935.

There are no passenger lists for departures from Canadian ports.


Research Tips for Ships Passenger Lists to Canada

Ships Passenger 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.



List of National Archives of Canada (NAC) Microfilm for Ships Passenger Lists

Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 (RG 76): List of Ports, Dates and Microfilm Reel Numbers


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ShipsLists-Online published on with permission of Olive Tree Genealogy on 1 February 2008       Copyright 2007