Passenger lists

This guide was last updated in 2009

Passenger lists are a great place to start tracking down ancestors who emigrated to Canada.

www.ancestorsonboard.com provides digital images of ships’ passenger lists recording the voyages of some 26 million people leaving British ports between 1890 and 1960. The collection can be searched by name of passenger.

You can narrow down your search by date, gender, port of departure, country and port of destination if you need to. The information provided on the list varies depending on when your ancestor travelled.
  
The early lists from 1890 through to about 1910 used pre-printed forms recording information relating to name and occupation and an indication of whether the passenger was male or female, was English, Scottish, Irish or Foreign, their age (though in most cases this isn’t recorded until the turn of the century), and the name of the port at which they were contracted to land.

From 1918 a separate age field is recorded and from 1922 a field for the last UK address appears. Incoming passenger lists at the Library and National Archives Canada generally survive from 1865 and contain information such as name, age, country of origin, occupation and intended destination.

The passenger lists from 1865 to 1922 have recently been digitised and enable you to search by name of ship and year and port of arrival. Unfortunately, they have not yet been indexed by name.

Visit www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/passenger to search the lists or www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy to find out more about the holdings of the Library and National Archives Canada.

The Ontario Archives have recently put a new database online – an index to the assisted immigration registers created by the Toronto Emigrant Office between 1865 and 1883. The registers are a chronological listing of those new immigrants who were assisted by the government to travel to many different destinations across southern Ontario. Over 30,000 entries have already been transcribed from the registers: click here to view.

Passenger lists to Canada from before 1865 are also available on Olive Tree Genealogy.

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