Passenger lists

This guide was last updated in 2009

Ancestorsonboard.com provides digital images of ships’ passenger lists recording the voyages of some 26 million people leaving British ports between 1890 and 1960. You can search by passenger, date, gender, port of departure and country and port of destination.

The site is co-branded by findmypast.com and the National Archives (TNA). The original records are housed in the National Archives in the record series BT 27 and were created by the Board of Trade, copies of which were also kept by shipping companies ferrying people to and from Britain.

Incoming passenger lists at the Library & National Archives, Canada survive from 1865 and contain information such as name, age, country of origin, occupation and destination. Passenger lists exist for the following ports of entry:

• Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec), 1865-1935
• Halifax (Nova Scotia), 1881-1935
• St John (New Brunswick), 1900-35
• North Sydney (Nova Scotia),1906-35 (mostly ferry arrivals from Newfoundland and St-Pierre-et-Miquelon)
• Vancouver (British Columbia), 1905-35
• Victoria (British Columbia), 1905-35
• via New York, 1906-31; and other eastern United States ports, 1905-28 (these lists include only the names of passengers who intended to proceed directly to Canada).

There are a number of nominal card indexes for some ports for certain years. Also, there is a database by name of passenger for the period 1925-35. The names of Home Children are included on passenger lists; however, the lists prior to 1925 contain few details about the children other than name, age, sending agency and destination. The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa is working through these lists, compiling a database of child migrants arriving in Canada between 1869 and 1930. The list as it stands is available to view here.

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