Immigrants from China, 1885-1949

Group of Chinese, Vancouver, BC.
Source

Search: Database

The Records

This database provides access to references to Chinese immigrants who arrived in Canada between 1885 and 1949. The names were extracted from three different series of records.

General Registers of Chinese Immigration

The General Registers of Chinese Immigration, 1885-1949 (RG 76 D2a) were created at the headquarters of the Chinese Immigration Service in Ottawa. These registers list all immigrants of Chinese origin arriving in Canada between 1885 and 1949. Some entries for residents arriving in Canada date back to 1860. The names in the registers are arranged numerically by serial number, in approximate chronological order by the date the notice of the immigrant's arrival was submitted to Ottawa.

The registers contain columns for the following information:

  • Column 1: Ottawa Serial Number; Port C.I.4 Number; or Port Number Statement and Declaration
  • Column 2: Names
  • Column 3: Port or Place Where Registered
  • Column 4: Date of Registration
  • Column 5: Certificate Issued C.I.5
  • Column 6: Certificate Issued C.I.6 or File Number
  • Column 7: Fees Paid-Amount
  • Column 8: Sex
  • Column 9: Age
  • Column 10: Place of Birth: City or Village
  • Column 11: Place of Birth: District
  • Column 12: Place of Birth: Province etc.
  • Column 13: Title, Official Rank, Profession or Occupation
  • Column 14: Last Place of Domicile
  • Column 15: Arrival in Canada-Port or Place of
  • Column 16: Arrival in Canada-Name of Vessel, Railway or Other Conveyance
  • Column 17: Arrival in Canada-Date of
  • Column 18: Physical Marks or Peculiarities
  • Column 19: Remarks

Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration

The Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration, 1887-1908 (RG 76 D2bi) contains names of Chinese immigrants who registered and paid the head tax at the port of New Westminster, British Columbia, in the years 1887 to 1898, 1907 and 1908. This is the only port register known to have survived. Names in this register should also be found in the General Registers of Chinese Immigration created by headquarters in Ottawa. The names are arranged in numerical sequence by declaration number.

The registers contain columns for the following information:

  • Column 2: No. of Statement and Declaration
  • Column 3: Name
  • Column 5: Date of Registration
  • Column 6: Certificate Issued C.I.5
  • Column 7: Certificate Issued C.I.6
  • Column 8: Fees Paid-Amount
  • Column 9: Sex
  • Column 10: Age
  • Column 11: Place of Birth: City or Village
  • Column 12: Place of Birth: District
  • Column 13: Place of Birth: Province etc.
  • Column 14: Title, Official Rank, Profession or Occupation
  • Column 15: Last Place of Domicile
  • Column 16: Arrival in Canada-Port or Place of
  • Column 17: Arrival in Canada-Name of Vessel, Railway or Other Conveyance
  • Column 18: Arrival in Canada-Date of
  • Column 19: Physical Marks or Peculiarities
  • Column 20: Remarks

Newfoundland Register of Arrivals and Outward Registrations

The Newfoundland Register of Arrivals and Outward Registrations (RG 76, Volume 1071) consists of two separate lists. The first list includes the names of Chinese persons entering Newfoundland as immigrants under the Newfoundland Chinese Immigration Act of 1906, who were issued identifying NF 63 certificate Nos. 1 to 384 from June 4, 1910 to March 26, 1949. The second list gives the names of persons leaving Newfoundland temporarily or permanently under Newfoundland C.I.9 certificate Nos. 1 to 436, issued from September 6, 1906 to February 24, 1950. Both lists are typed.

The first list for people entering Newfoundland includes the following information:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Age
  • NF 63 Certificate Number
  • Conveyance (Ship)
  • Birthplace
  • Occupation
  • Amount of Head Tax Paid
  • Case File Number

The second list for people leaving Newfoundland includes the following information:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Alias
  • Age
  • C.I.9 Certificate Number
  • Date of Readmission
  • Birthplace
  • Original Year of Entry

The Database

This database provides access to 98,361 references to the General Registers of Chinese Immigration, the Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration and the Newfoundland Register of Arrivals and Outward Registrations held at Library and Archives Canada. The registers were consulted in order to verify the names of immigrants. The records have been digitized and are searchable by name.

The database entries reflect the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Important note: Given that some of the names are very difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete. In your search, consider using slight variations on the spelling of the name. For example, if you are searching for the name "Low," you might also try "Lon" or "Lor."

Search Screen

The search screen allows you to search by:

  • Name
  • Date of Registration
  • Certificate Number

Names were input as they appear in the register; no distinction was made between given name(s) and surname. Try searching by surname only.

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit." The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a results summary list from which you will be able to obtain an item description.

Search Results Page

The search results page displays the following fields:

  • Item Number
  • Name(s)
  • Age
  • Date of Registration
  • Type of Records

Click on the underlined Item Number of a record to access the Item page, which contains additional information specific to that record.

Item Page

The item page has a digitized image of the actual page available in JPG and PDF formats and contains the following fields:

  • Serial Number
  • Name
  • Age
  • Date of Registration
  • Certificate Number
  • C.I. 5 Certificate Number
  • C.I. 6 Certificate Number
  • C.I. 9 Certificate Number
  • Other C.I. Certificate Number
  • Place of Birth
  • Occupation
  • Ship
  • Date of Arrival
  • Date of Departure
  • Date of Readmission
  • Date of Original Entry in Canada
  • Note
  • Title
  • Volume
  • Page Number
  • Microfilm Reel Number
  • Reference

To suggest a correction, click on the Suggest a Correction link to access an electronic form.

To return to the Search Results page, click on the Back button of your browser in the upper left corner of your screen.

How to Obtain Copies

You can print the images or save them on your computer.

To open a PDF file, you must have Acrobat Reader. (See Downloadable Formats, PDF Reader)

To print a copy of a scanned image in JPEG format, right click on the image, select copy, then paste to your word processing software, using the edit: paste special feature: device independent bitmap. Alternatively, paste to your desktop and open with the Office Picture Manager to crop and print.

Other Resources

We suggest that you also consult Census and Enumerations and Passenger Lists. Please note that there are no passenger lists for the West Coast before 1905.

In partnership with Library and Archives Canada, the Vancouver Public Library hosts the Chinese-Canadian Genealogy site which provides research tools and information in English and in Chinese. The site includes a newly launched wiki that enables community members, researchers and genealogists to contribute interactively to a greater knowledge of early Chinese immigration and settlement in Canada.

Credits

Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Department of History at the University of British Columbia, without which this project would not have been possible.​