THE CANADIAN PASSENGER LISTS
1865 to 1935
Your ancestors packed a lot into
a single suitcase - the future of an entire family.
They left behind everything they knew and traveled thousands of miles across the ocean to a land they had never seen. Two men came for every woman, and more than 4,000 ships brought them here. They came for all reasons – to own their first piece of land, to find gold, to escape poverty and to discover a new life. Their story is your story.
The Carpathia, listed in the collection, arrived at 4am and rescued 705 people from the Titanic after it sank on April 15, 1912. For the rescue work, the crew of the Carpathia were awarded medals by the survivors.
...it took 14 minutes for the Empress of Ireland, a Canadian Pacific passenger ship, to sink in 1914. Although Captain Henry Kendall survived, 1,012 of the 1,477 people on board lost their lives – more deaths than the Titanic.
...from 1869 to the end of the 1930’s, more than 100,000 children were sent from Great Britain to Canada during the Home Children, child emigration movement.
...on July 1, 1923, a dark episode in Canada’s history, the Chinese Immigration Act was enacted. It prohibited all Chinese immigrants except diplomats, students, children of Canadians and an investor class, from coming to Canada.
...Liverpool, England was the most common port of departure for those coming to Canada between 1865-1935, with almost three million leaving that port. Quebec City was the most common landing port, with more than three and a half million arriving on its shores.
- Digitizing and indexing this Collection took approximately 83,000 man hours. That’s the equivalent of a person working 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 9.71 years.
- Giving birth on the long journey across the Atlantic or Pacific was not uncommon. Four individuals are listed as being one day old upon arrival in Canada.
- Smith, Wong, Brown, Jones and Anderson were the five most common surnames of those included in the Collection.
- 1913 and 1919, the years immediately before and after the First World War, saw the largest number of arrivals in Canada.
- March 24, 1919 was the busiest day ever at Canada’s ports, with 11,263 people arriving on that day.
The Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 offers more than 7 million searchable names from all ports in Canada and along the United States eastern coast. The collection also includes records for countless vacationers and travelers, military personnel, crew members, and historical figures including foreign leaders and celebrities.
Information collected in the records varied over the years and includes individuals’ first and last name, estimated birth year, year of arrival, port of arrival and departure, ship name, occupation, literacy, religion and final destination. Dominant immigrant groups arriving in Canada during this rapid growth period include those of British, French, Irish, Ukrainian, Russian, German, Chinese and Polish origin.
Explore the lives and times of your ancestors. Learn why you are here today and when your family came. Grab a coffee, a comfy chair and embark on a search that could change your life.
John Templeton (Edmonton, AB)Elizabeth Wood, John’s grandmother, and her family were initially booked to travel on the Titanic...
Linda Reid (Vancouver, BC)Linda’s Japanese grandfather, Sansuke Kawamoto, lured by dreams of riches in Canada...
Ancestry.ca has partnered with Canada’s record keeper, Library and Archives Canada (LAC), to preserve important documents and allow people to more easily discover their family stories online. Original images of the Canadian Passenger Lists are held at LAC.
We love to hear your family history stories to feature in our newsletter and on our website. Please share your immigration stories. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!