Quarantine Station building.
In the 19th century, an increasing stream of people was leaving Europe to rebuild their lives in North America. Around 1830, an average of 30,000 immigrants arrived annually in the City of Québec, the main port of entry to Canada. Approximately two-thirds of these newcomers were from Ireland. This unprecedented immigration on the St. Lawrence River took place at a time when major cholera and smallpox epidemics were sweeping through Europe. In order to help control the spread of the diseases, the quarantine station at Grosse Île, located in the St. Lawrence River downstream from the City of Québec, was established in 1832 and operated until its closure in 1937.
In 1974, the old quarantine station became a national historic site under the jurisdiction of Parks Canada. More information on Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial National Historic Site of Canada is available on the Parks Canada Web site.
Data on immigrants was compiled by Parks Canada from a number of different records held in various archives. Under an agreement between the Québec Service Centre of Parks Canada and Library and Archives Canada, this database regarding immigrants who passed through Grosse Île is now available on this website.
One of the benefits of this database is that it allows people to trace certain immigrants and the members of their family, from their departure from Europe, during their voyage across the Atlantic and their stay at the Grosse Île Quarantine Station, and then on their way to a destination within the continent.
The database contains 33,036 references to immigrants who stayed, were born, married or buried at the Grosse Île Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937. The database also includes references to immigrants who were born or died at sea during those years. It also includes references to immigration workers and their families who were living on the island.
For better understanding of the database, the references have been grouped by the following type of records:
- Baptisms recorded at the Grosse Île Quarantine Station.
- Information on 554 people baptized at Grosse Île between 1832 and 1937.
- Births that occurred at sea.
- Information on 135 people born on ships during the Atlantic crossing between 1837 and 1913.
- Burials recorded at the Grosse Île Quarantine Station.
- Information about 4,871 people who were buried at Grosse Île between 1832 and 1937.
- Deaths that occurred at sea.
- Information on 4,936 people who died on ships at sea, on the St. Lawrence River or on quarantined ships at Grosse Île, from 1832 to 1922.
- Hospital Registers.
- Information on 12,196 people who were treated at the Grosse Île hospitals between 1832 and 1921.
- Inventory of belongings of deceased people.
- Information on 528 inventories of personal belongings of deceased immigrants from Grosse Île or Québec in 1834, 1835, 1837, 1841, 1847, 1849 and 1851.
- List of tenants of Major Denis Mahon.
- Information on 1,431 tenants evicted in 1847 by Major Mahon, landlord of County Roscommon in Ireland.
- Marriages recorded at the Grosse Île Quarantine Station.
- Information on 46 marriages that were celebrated at Grosse Île from 1832 to 1937.
- Names recorded on the Grosse Île Quarantine Station Memorial.
- The Grosse Île and the Irish Memorial was erected in 1997 to commemorate the massive arrival of Irish immigrants who were victims of the Great Famine. It provides the names of 8,339 people of various nationalities who were buried in the Grosse Île cemeteries from 1832 to 1937.
The search screen enables you to search by:
Note that some entries include only an initial for the given names. In that case, try searching by surname only. Names can also be written in different ways. The entries reflect the spelling of names as they appear on the documents, some of which are barely legible.
Once you have entered your search terms, click on "Search". 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
- Given Name(s)
- 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.
The item page may contain one of the following fields:
- Given Name(s)
- Marital Status
- Type of person
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Date of Baptism
- Date of Marriage
- Date of Death
- Place of Death
- Cause of Death
- Date of Burial
- Place of Burial
- Name of Ship
- Name of Captain
- Date of Departure
- Port of Departure
- Date of Arrival
- Hospitalization Period: From
- Hospitalization Period: To
- Date of Admission
- Date of Release
- Head of Family or Group
- Place of Residence
- Date of Document
- Type of Records
The content of the database entries reflect the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.
Important Note: Given that some of the original documents are very difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete.
The archival reference to the original document appears at the end of each description. The documents are held in various archives, mainly at Library and Archives Canada, Archives nationales du Québec, Québec Office, or at the Québec Service Centre of Parks Canada.
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
All information contained in the actual documents was transcribed and entered in the database. If you still want to view the original record or obtain a copy, note the reference at the bottom of the page and consult the relevant section below.
- Library and Archives Canada
How to Access Library and Archives Canada Records.
Newspapers are available on microfilm and can be consulted in a number of public libraries or through interlibrary loan. We suggest that you consult the website Canadian Newspapers on Microform Held by Library and Archives Canada.
- Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
For documents held at the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec in Quebec City, please contact:
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Centre d'archives de Québec
Cité universitaire, PO Box 10450
- Parks Canada
It is not possible to obtain copies of documents in the custody of the Québec Service Centre of Parks Canada because the information is contained in fragile oversize registers, which would be damaged by photocopying.
- Bishop's University
For documents held at Bishop's University please contact:
Library, Bishop's University
Quebec Diocesan Archives
Anglican Church of Canada
Lennoxville, QC J1M 1Z7
Tel.: 819-822-9600, ext. 2567
Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Parks Canada, without which this project would not have been possible.