The first Russians in Canada were fur traders on the west coast in the late1700s and a few officers with the British Navy in Halifax. Emigration from Russia was often restricted throughout the nineteenth century so most people who immigrated to Canada from Russia did so through special arrangement for groups, such as German Mennonites from southern Russia who settled in Saskatchewan.
Between 1899 and 1914, thousands of Doukhobors settled in Canada. Other pre-war immigrants were peasant farmers who came to find work in industries in urban centres. Russian Jews also began to arrive to escape the pogroms and restrictions imposed upon them. Russian communities were established in Montreal (Quebec), Windsor, Toronto and Timmins (Ontario), Vancouver and Victoria (British Columbia) and Winnipeg (Manitoba).
After the First World War, hundreds of thousands of Russians sought admission into Canada as industrial and agricultural labourers, some of them fleeing the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. Russia immigration virtually ceased as a result of the Great Depression and the Second World War. It resumed after the War's completion and between 1948 and 1953 thousands of Russians immigrated to Canada. Many of them were displaced persons who were living in Germany at the end of the War.
After 1953 immigration from Russia dropped, though the Soviet government permitted some Jews to emigrate. By the time of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. approximate 1,500 Russian Jews had arrived to Canada. There are approximately 500 000 Canadians of Russian descent today. The provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have the largest population of Russian Canadians though sizeable populations can also be found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec. As boundaries in Eastern Europe changed often during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it may also be helpful to consult historical atlases in order to better pinpoint an ancestor's geographic origins in Russia and surrounding countries.
Research at Library and Archives Canada
Likacheff-Ragosine-Mathers (LI-RA-MA) collection (MG 30 E406)
Material consists of documents created between 1898 and 1922 by the consular offices of the Russian Empire in Canada. The series on passports and identity papers is comprised of about 11,400 files on Russian, Jewish, Ukrainian, Finnish and Polish immigrants who came to Canada from the Russian Empire. The series includes passport applications and questionnaires containing general information.
Immigration Branch: Central Registry Files
Other series of Records
Library and Archives Canada also holds other private records regarding Russian families. Consult the Archives Search database using keywords such as a surname or the name of an organization.
Research in Other Institutions
American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
BLITZ Information Center
Federal Archival Agency
Germans from Russian Heritage Society
The Orthodox Church in America
The Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
Research in Published Sources
1853 Tax Register of Doukhobors in the Caucasus by Jonathan J. Kalmakoff.
1918 Census of Independent Doukhobors: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia by Jonathan J. Kalmakoff.
Doukhobor ship passenger lists, 1898-1928 by Steve Lapshinoff & Jonathan Kalmakoff In their words: A Genealogist's Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents by Jonathan D. Shea and William F. Hoffman.
Mennonite estates in Imperial Russia by Helmut T. Huebert.
Mennonites in the cities of Imperial Russia by Helmut T. Huebert.
Migration from the Russian Empire: Lists of Passengers Arriving at the Port of New York edited by Ira A. Glazier.
Russian Language documents from Russian Poland: a Translation Manual for Genealogists by Johnathan D. Shea.
Russian Refuge: Religion, Migration, and Settlement on the North American Pacific Rim by Susan Wiley Hardwick.
The Russian Consular Records Index and Catalog by Sallyann Amdur Sack, Suzan F. Wynne.
Search for other books on Russians in AMICUS, using authors, titles or subject keywords such as:
Canadian Mennonite Genealogical Resources
Doukhobor Genealogy Website
Odessa - A German-Russian Genealogical Library
Russia Genealogy Links
Russia Genealogy Links [www.genealogylinks.net/europe/russia/index.html]
Russian Genealogy and Family History