Passenger Lists

Before 1865

There are no comprehensive nominal lists of immigrants arriving in Canada before 1865. Few such lists have survived and can be found within various collections.

French Regime

The majority of immigrants came as "engagés." Those men signed "engagements" (contracts) for a three-year period to work in New France for a religious community, a merchant company or a recruitment agent. Many of those "engagés" remained in New France after their contracts ended.

Some references can be found in the Colonial Archives database (Archived).

Keywords: "liste des passagers" or name and "engagement"

Engagement records from a number of sources are transcribed and indexed in the following publications:

List of Passenger Lists on Microfilm 

​Volume ​Region ​Year ​Microfilm
​30 ​Acadia ​1747, 1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758 ​F-1224
​30 ​Quebec ​1749, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1757, 1758, 1759 ​F-1224
​38 ​Acadia ​1749 ​F-1225
​39 ​Acadia ​1749, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1757, 1758 ​F-1533
​39 ​Quebec ​1749, 1751, 1752, 1753, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1757, 1758 ​F-1533
​40 ​Canada and America ​1759 ​F-1225
​40 ​Quebec ​1759, 1760 ​F-1225
​44 ​Acadia ​1732, 1752, 1756 ​F-1225
​44 ​Canada and America ​1758 ​F-1225
​44 ​Quebec ​1753 ​F-1225
​48 ​Quebec ​1749, 1750, 1757, 1759 ​F-1225
​49 ​Canada and America ​1750 ​F-1534
​49 ​Quebec ​1749 ​F-1534
​55 ​Acadia ​1732, 1756, 1758 ​F-1225
​55 ​Canada and America ​1755 ​F-1225
​56 ​Acadia ​1717, 1747, 1750, 1752, 1754, 1755, 1756, 1758 ​F-1535
​56 ​Quebec ​1749, 1754, 1756, 1757, 1758, 1759 ​F-1535
​57 ​Acadia ​1747, 1750, 1754, 1758 ​F-1536
​57 ​Canada and America ​1749, 1750, 1751, 1752, 1754 ​F-1536
​57 ​Quebec ​1749, 1753, 1754, 1756, 1759 ​F-1536
​58 ​Acadia ​1749, 1750, 1752, 1755, 1756, 1758 ​F-1537
​58 ​Canada and America ​1750, 1751, 1755 ​F-1537
​58 ​Quebec ​1749, 1754, 1760 ​F-1537
​60 ​Newfoundland ​1786 ​F-1225
​61 ​Newfoundland ​1819 ​F-1225
​112 ​Acadia ​1732 ​F-1225
​112 ​Quebec ​1732 ​F-1225

British Regime

Consult our databases Immigrants at Grosse-Île Quarantine Station, 1832-1937, Immigrants Before 1865, Immigrants Sponsored by the Montreal Emigrant Society, 1832 and the following provincial resources:

1865 to 1935

Passenger lists (RG 76) were the official record of immigration during this period; there are no immigrant applications or files. The lists contain information such as name, age, country of origin, occupation and intended destination. They are arranged by port and date of arrival, with the exception of some years between 1919 and 1924, when an individual Form 30A was used. The Government of Canada did not keep records of people leaving the country; there are no passenger lists for departures from Canadian ports.

Passenger lists exist for the following ports of entry:

  • Quebec City and Montreal (Quebec), 1865-1935;
  • Halifax (Nova Scotia), 1881-1935;
  • Saint John (New Brunswick), 1900-1935;
  • North Sydney (Nova Scotia),1906-1935 (these include mostly ferry arrivals from Newfoundland and St-Pierre-et-Miquelon, with a few passengers in transit from other countries);
  • Vancouver (British Columbia), 1905-1935;
  • Victoria (British Columbia), 1905-1935;
  • via New York, 1906-1931; and other eastern United States ports, 1905-1928 (these lists include only the names of passengers who stated that they intended to proceed directly to Canada).

You can search the Passenger Lists for the Port of Quebec City, 1865-1900 database by name of passengers to access digitized images of passenger lists. The database Passenger Lists, 1865-1922 allows you to access the passenger lists by name of ship, port and date of departure and or port and date of arrival. Consult the Research Aids page to find a nominal index for that time period. Between 1919 and 1924, the individual Form 30A was used instead of the passenger list. The use of this form was inconsistent; if you do not find a reference to an immigrant for that time period, we recommend that you search the passenger lists for those years. The records were microfilmed in quasi-alphabetical order and the digitized images for Forms 30A (Archived) can be searched in that order in Digitized Microforms (Archived).

The passenger lists for 1925-1935 contain more details such as the immigrants' place of birth and the name and address of the contact person both for where they came from and for their intended destination in Canada. These lists are arranged by port and date of arrival. You can search the Passenger Lists, 1925-1935 - Nominal Indexes database. Once you have the complete reference, the digitized image of the passenger list can be viewed in the Microform Digitization (Archived).

Arrivals at American Ports

Many immigrants to Canada arrived at American ports. The American lists held at Library and Archives Canada include only the names of passengers who were proceeding directly to Canada. The complete lists are in the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration in the United States.

Research Tips

  • The lists recorded the names of all passengers regardless of their country of origin or nationality. This included visitors, students, returning Canadians and passengers in transit to the United States.
  • Lists for the port of Quebec include passengers who disembarked at Montreal between 1865 and 1921. Those ports were closed during the winter months when the St. Lawrence River was frozen.
  • Passengers from mainland Europe usually sailed to Great Britain, where they boarded trans-Atlantic ships at ports such as Liverpool, London and Glasgow.
  • Some immigrants to Canada arrived at American ports. For example, many ships sailed directly from Italy to New York.
  • Immigrants from Europe destined for western Canada landed at ports on the East Coast, then continued their journey by train. The names of train passengers were not recorded.
  • Ships arriving on the West Coast carried passengers from Asia, Australia and Honolulu.