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Description found in Archives

Ships' passenger manifests [textual record (chiefly microform)]. 

Sub-series consists of


1865-1935, microfilmed [ca. 1950-1970]

Place of creation

No place, unknown, or undetermined

1.60 m of textual records
802 microfilm reels

Scope and content

Sub-series consists of ships' passenger manifests (or passenger lists), the sole surviving official record of the arrival of most people accepted as immigrants in Canada 1865-1935. They remain a significant source for the period from 1908 to 1952. The sub-series includes ships' manifests from Quebec City, Halifax, Saint John, North Sydney, New York, Eastern U.S. ports, Vancouver, Victoria and other Pacific ports; Vancouver and Victoria passenger lists; and individual manifests (Form 30A). The official Immigration ship's manifest is a list of immigrants arriving at an official port of entry on a particular ship on a given date. Generally speaking, each manifest gives: the name of the ship; its port(s) and date(s) of departure; its port(s) and date(s) of arrival in Canada; and the name, age, sex, profession or occupation, nationality and destination of each passenger aboard (Personal information may be omitted in some of the earlier manifests for wives, minor children, groups of labourers, and first and second class passengers). Depending on the date, some manifests may contain other information on the immigrants' health, religion, previous visits to Canada, family relationships, and cash on hand. The format of the lists varies over time. Standard manifest forms were used increasingly from the 1870s onward. However, from 1860s-1890s a number of the manifests (especially for arrivals from European ports) are of irregular format, or are inscribed on U.S. immigration manifest forms. The lists from 1865 to 1922 are arranged by port and date of arrival. They are not indexed, except for the Quebec lists from 1865 to 1869. From 1925 to 1935, the lists also include: place and country of birth; name and address of the relative, friend or employer to which the immigrant was destined; and the name, relationship and address of the nearest relative in the country from which he or she came. The lists for each port and year have been assigned volume and page numbers, with each port/year starting at volume one. Immigration has maintained offices at various places termed "ports of entry" - responsible for the official reception and documentation of immigrants - from Confederation onwards. The present formal process for designating ports of entry was not set up until after the First World War. Before that time, the decision to collect records of entry at a particular port (and then to forward them systematically to Ottawa) appears to have been an informal administrative action. The National Archives of Canada currently holds Seaport Records of Entry, also known as ships' manifests, for the following ports of entry in the period 1865-1935: Quebec City, P.Q. includes Montreal, (1 May 1865); Montreal, (1 January 1925); Halifax, N.S., (January 1881); Saint John, N.B., (1 January 1900); New York City, N.Y., (1 July 1905); Baltimore, Md., (1 July 1905); Boston, Mass., (1 July 1905); Portland, Maine, (December 1905); Vancouver, B.C., (January 1905); Victoria, B.C. & other Pacific ports, (April 1905); North Sydney, N.S., (November 1906); Philadelphia, Penn., (ca.1908 to 1911); Providence, R.I., (July 1911); and all Canadian ports (form 30A) (1919 to 1924). The date in parentheses is the date that the records begin. In order to maintain a record of immigrants arriving at American seaports and proceeding directly overland to Canada, in 1905 the Canadian immigration service began to collect extracts of U.S. manifests kept at the east coast ports of New York, Baltimore, Boston, Portland, Philadelphia and Providence. The ships' manifests, 1865-1935 were transferred to the National Archives by the Records of Entry Unit (later Query Response Centre) in four groups: 1865-1900 records in 1971, 1900-1908 records in 1980, 1908-1918 records in 1984, and 1919-1935 records in 1997. The 1908-1918 portion contains a few manifests dated as late as 1921 at the end of the 1918 reels.

Textual records: microform
90: Open
Textual records
90: Open
Archival reference no.
Former archival reference no.

Terms of use

Copyright belongs to the Crown. In order to protect the fragile originals, the microfilm copies of these records must be consulted rather than the originals.

The primary finding aid to the ship's passenger manifests (passenger lists) is the Ships Manifests Data Base, which is available in the Reference and Researcher Services Division. The data base provides online searching for specific lists by ship, port and dates of departure and arrival for the following years and ports: Quebec: 1 May 1865 to 11 June 1919; Halifax: Jan. 1881 to 17 Jan. 1919; Saint John: 4 Jan. 1900 to 30 Dec. 1918; North Sydney: 22 Nov. 1906 to 22 July 1919; Vancouver: 4 Jan. 1905 to 30 May 1919; Victoria: 18 Apr. 1905 to 4 Feb. 1919; New York: Jan. 1906 to 8 Apr. 1919; Eastern U.S. ports: 5 July 1905 to 1 Nov. 1921.The database lists the names of the ships, not the passengers, and provides microfilm reel numbers. (Electronic)

Finding Aid 76-25 provides information on the contents of the microfilm reels in this sub-series. 76-25 (Paper)

Finding Aid 76-28, parts 1-22 is the corrected ship arrival list, listing all the manifests as they appear on the microfilm. 76-28 (Paper)

Additional information

Source of title
Title is based on the contents of the sub-series.

No further accruals are expected.

Related materials
For records of entry compiled at the land border ports, see the Border entry lists sub-series, (MIKAN 134855, RG76-C-5, 192 reels; T-5461 to T-5507, T-15249 to T-15393). See also the General nominal index sub-series (26 reels, T-15394 to T-15419).

Dates of creation note
This microfilm was produced by the department during the 1950's and 1960's under microfilm authority M6-62. The originals were then destroyed after microfilming.


Related control no.

1. 1981-82/028 GAD
2. 1984-85/240 GAD
3. 1984-85/581 GAD
4. 1985-86/585 GAD
5. 1988-89/041 GAD
6. 116-000041-0
7. RG76
8. RG76-C-1
9. RG76-C-3