Canada's Immigration Records > Ship / Passenger Lists

If your ancestor was a British subject*, or arrived by ship prior to 1865, it's unlikely you'll find them on a ship passenger list. Some early passenger lists exist but the government did not keep them until 1865 and then it was only for arrivals into Quebec City. Lists for other ports weren't kept until later.

Most ships arrived at Quebec City except during winter months when the St Lawrence River was unpassable, no ships could get through. The ports in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Saint John, New Brunswick were open year-round and could accomodate larger vessels.

Major Canadian ports of entry for ships were:
Quebec City, Quebec
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Saint John, New Brunswick
Vancouver, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia

Canada Steamship Lines passenger terminals, Toronto Harbour, Toronto, Ont. Credit: Miscellaneous / Library and Archives Canada / PA-051893
Canada Steamship Lines passenger terminals, Toronto Harbour, Toronto, Ont. Credit: Miscellaneous / Library and Archives Canada / PA-051893

Ship Lists usually included the name of the vessel, who owned it, when it arrived at port and some include information about the crew (names, ages, etc).

  • Ship Registrations 1787-1966, Library & Archives Canada
  • Crew Lists 1789-1935, Atlantic Canada, $ Ancestry
  • Crew Lists 1864-1942, Newfoundland & Labrador, $ Ancestry
  • Crew Lists 1881, British vessels, $ Ancestry

    Passenger lists might include the names of everyone on board, ages, where they embarked, where they last lived, where they were planning to live, and what country they were a citizen of.

  • Entering Canada 1793 (Nova Scotia's Book of Negroes), $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1816-1838, New Brunswick, Provincial Archives of New Brunswick
  • Entering Canada 1819-1838, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1865-1922, Library & Archives Canada
  • Entering Canada 1865-1935, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1894-1905, British Columbia, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1881-1922, Halifax, FamilySearch
  • Entering Canada 1900-1912, Saint John, FamilySearch
  • Entering Canada 1900-1921, Quebec City, FamilySearch
  • Entering Canada 1904-1944, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1905-1912, Vancouver & Victoria, FamilySearch
  • Entering Canada 1906-1912, North Sydney, FamilySearch
  • Entering Canada 1912-1939, 1953-1962, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1919-1924, $ Ancestry
  • Entering Canada 1919-1927, Library & Archives Canada
  • Entering Canada 1925-1935 (Halifax, North Sydney, Quebec City, Saint John, Vancouver & Victoria, Montreal), Library & Archives Canada
  • Transcripts of Passenger Lists, The Ships List
  • Also Check:
    - Newspapers in Canadian and American port cities. Some newspapers would list names of incoming passengers.

    - U.S. passenger lists. For some it was easier/cheaper to travel to the USA and then make their way to Canada. Others emigrated to the USA with the intention of living there but later moved to Canada.

  • Entering USA 1820-1835, Maine, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1820-1863, NE Coast, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1820-1870, NE Coast, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1820-1873 & 1893-1959, Atlantic Ocean & Gulf Coast Ports, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1820-1873, NE Coast, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1820-1874, Atlantic Ocean & Gulf Coast Ports, $ Find My Past
  • Entering USA 1890-1930, $ Ancestry
  • Entering USA 1890-1957, Seattle Washington, $ Find My Past
  • Entering USA 1905-1912, Eastern US Ports, FamilySearch
  • Entering USA 1906-1912, New York, FamilySearch
  • Entering USA 1925-1935 (Eastern USA Ports, New York), Library & Archives Canada

    - European passenger departures. There may not be a record of their entry into Canada but there could be a record of their exit from Europe. Also, the earlier someone emigrated from Europe (1850 or prior), the more likely they left from Britain.
  • Leaving Germany 1850-1934, $ Ancestry
  • Leaving UK 1890-1960, $ Find My Past
  • Leaving UK 1890-1960, $ Ancestry
  • *British subjects included those from Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Australia, India and the British West Indies.

    Additions and corrections to this page are welcome