Immigrants Before 1865

In 1865, the Canadian government began the systematic retention of passenger lists to serve as immigration records. Unfortunately, very few passenger lists before 1865 have survived. Use this database to discover the records in our collection.

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Records included in this database

Library and Archives Canada holds some early passenger lists. There are also some lists and documents within other collections (fonds) that include the names of immigrants and settlers before 1865.

Most of those records have been indexed. The database currently includes approximately 28,000 entries.

The contents of the database are described in the following list. It gives a brief description of each document or record set, the fonds it is found in and the archival reference.

If the record is digitized, a link is included in the Reference column.

If the item is not digitized, please see the section below on How to access the records.

List of records

List of records
Description of document Year Fonds Reference and notes
List of the persons transported from Rotterdam to Nova Scotia on the ANN 1750 Great Britain: Colonial Office 217

MG11 CO217

Transcripts:  volume 37, pages 233 to 235, microfilm C-9124

Originals: volume 9, folio 162, microfilm B-1024

Lists of emigrants transported from Rotterdam to Nova Scotia on the SPEEDWELL, GALE, MURDOCK and PEARL 1751 Great Britain: Colonial Office 217

MG11 CO217

Transcripts: volume 42, pages 24, 25, 133 to 135, 201 to 204, microfilm C-9125

Originals: volume 11, G94; volume 12, G108, G119, microfilm B-1025

Transcripts: volume 43, pages 13 to 15, microfilm C-9125

Originals: volume 12, G124, microfilm B-1025

List of Swiss embarked in Rotterdam for Nova Scotia aboard the GALE 1751 Great Britain: Colonial Office 217

MG11 CO217

Transcripts: volume 42, page 71, microfilm C-9125

Originals: volume 12, G106, microfilm B-1025

Lists of persons leaving various ports in the United Kingdom bound for various ports in North America 1774-1775 Great Britain: Treasury. Various registers

MG15 T47

Transcripts: volume 9, part 1 and 2, pages 1 to 20; volume 10 parts 1 and 2, pages 21 to 31; volume 12, pages 34 to 39, microfilm C-13524

List of Loyalists bound for Halifax on board the CLINTON 1784 Great Britain: Colonial Office 217

MG11 CO217

Transcripts: volume 104, page 32, microfilm C-9133

Originals: volume 56, page 151, microfilm B-1040

German settlers from New York in Markham Township, Upper Canada 1793-1808 William Von Moll Berczy fonds

MG23 HII6

Originals: volume 1, pages 16 and 17, 65 to 72 and 127 to 130; volume 2 pages 455, 735 and 736, 858 to 861, microfilm H-2298

At the beginning of the microfilm there is a description of the fonds and a complete list of the contents.

Declarations of aliens in Lower Canada (mostly from the United States) 1794-1811 Lower Canada, Provincial Secretary and Registrar

RG4 B45

Originals: volume 1, microfilm H-1154

Emigrants leaving Fort William, Scotland, for Pictou, Nova Scotia, on board the ships SARAH and DOVE 1801 Great Britain: Home Office 102

MG40 D6 HO 102

Extracts from volume 18,  27 pages. Pages not in order.

List of passengers forwarded from Lachine to Selkirk’s Baldoon Settlement in Kent County, Ontario 1804 Macdonnell family fonds

MG24 I8

Originals: volume 4, pages 105 to 108

List of the crew and passengers on board the ship CLARENDON of Hull, England, bound for Charlottetown 1808 Great Britain: Colonial Office 226

MG11 CO226

Originals: volume 23, page 104, microfilm B-1246

Documents concerning mostly the Red River Settlement and the conflict with the Hudson’s Bay Company, with some records relating to the Baldoon and Grand River Settlements and Prince Edward Island 1811-1823 Thomas Douglas, 5th Earl of Selkirk fonds

MG19 E1

Transcripts, selected pages in volumes 6 to 9, 11 to 20, 22, 24 to 28, 31, 32, 45 to 57, 59 to 63, 65 to 76 and 78, microfilms C-2 to C-9 and C-12 to C-20

List of settlers in the Island of Cape Breton 1813 Hugh Swayne fonds

MG24 A5

Photocopies: volume 2, pages 258 to 260

List of settlers enrolled for Canada, sailing aboard the ATLAS, DOROTHY, BALTIC MERCHANT and ELIZA 1815 Great Britain: Colonial Office 385, CO 385. Emigration, Entry Books

MG11 CO385

Photocopies: volume 2

(See also RG4 A1)

Settlers arrived at Quebec from England aboard the ATLAS, DOROTHY and BALTIC MERCHANT 1815 Quebec and Lower Canada, S Series

RG4 A1

Originals: volume 147, document 4 September 1815

(See also MG11 CO 385)

List of inhabitants of the Island of Guernsey who wish to emigrate to British North America 1816 Great Britain: Colonial Office 42

MG11 CO42

Transcripts: volume Q139, pages 6 to 9, microfilm C-11924

Originals: volume 169, microfilm B-136

Lists of persons who emigrated from the British Isles to Canada 1817-1831, 1849 Great Britain: Colonial Office

MG11 CO384

Originals: volumes 1, 3, 12, 13, 23, 27, 28 and 83, microfilms B-876, B-877, B-885, B-886, B-946, B-949, B-950 and B-1747.

These lists are digitized and indexed on www.ancestry.ca under the catalogue title Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists

Immigrants from Great Britain and Ireland proceeding to Canada via New York, whose passes were signed by the British Consul 1817-1819 Upper Canada Sundries

RG5 A1

Originals: volume 37, pages 17227 to 17578, microfilm C-4601

Petition of John Banfield requesting land in Simcoe County, Ontario, for intended immigrants from the Scilly Islands 1819 Upper Canada Land Petitions

RG1 L3

Originals: volume 43, Bundle B12, petition 232, microfilm C-1625

Lists of persons leaving Scotland bound for Upper Canada on board the GEORGE CANNING, DAVID, EARL OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE and COMMERCE 1821 Great Britain: Colonial Office 42

MG11 CO42

Transcripts: volume Q159, part 3, documents 507, 508 and 509 microfim C-11930

Originals: volume 189, pages 515 to 555, microfilm B-148

State of Swiss settlers in the Red River 1822 Andrew Bulger fonds

MG19 E5

Originals: volume 2, pages 172 to 178

Records relating to Peter Robinson settlers in Eastern Ontario. Lists of Irish passengers on board the ALBION, AMITY, BRUNSWICK, ELIZABETH, FORTITUDE, JOHN BARRY, REGULUS, RESOLUTION, STAR and STAKESBY 1823-1844 Peter Robinson fonds

MG24 B74

Originals: microfilms M-140 and M-141

Other records in this fonds contain additional information about the settlers, but they are not indexed in this database. For a description of the other records on these microfilms see Finding Aid 134.

Archibald McNab Papers: Correspondence and lists of settlers in McNab Township, Renfrew County, Ontario 1825-1842 Upper Canada: Executive Council, State Submissions

RG1 E3

Originals: volume 53, microfilm C-1196

Some names are also mentioned in the correspondence, but were not indexed.

Lists of passengers aboard ships BRITANNIA, WARRIOR, LIVELY, HARMONY and DANIEL O’CONNELL bound for Quebec after clearing customs 1832, 1840, 1842 Great Britain: Board of Customs and Excise: Plantation Papers

MG43 Customs 34

Originals: volume 6625, pages 15 to 19, 165 to 168a; volume 6626, pages 106 to 111, 122, 123, 136, microfilm A-507

Lists of immigrants from Londonderry County, Ireland, that were contained in the original Ordnance Survey records. From various parishes to ports in Canada and the United States. 1833-1836 Irish immigration lists, Londonderry county, collection

MG24 I58

Transcripts: volume 1, 52 pages.

The collection has been digitized.

See Mikan 104779 for background information about the collection.

Lists of emigrants on board the KINGSTON from Liverpool to settle in Hull Township, Lower Canada 1834 William Farmer and family fonds

MG24 I120

Photocopies: volume 1, pages 1 to 7

See Mikan 105802 for more information about this fonds.

Returns of destitute at Prescott, Ontario 1835 Upper Canada Sundries

RG5 A1

Originals: volume 156, pages 85852-85857, microfilm C-6887

Lists of emigrants from Kettlestone and Heacham parishes, Norfolk County, England 1836 Emigration records collection

MG24 I156

Photocopies: pages 1, 2, 32, 33, 34, 36 and 40

List of immigrants with capital who arrived at Kingston, Ontario 1840 Great Britain: Colonial Office 42

MG11 CO42

Originals: volume 477, pages 241 to 243, microfilm B-367

Transcripts: volume 431, part 2, pages 286 to 293, microfilm C-12634

Lists of settlers in the records of James Allison, emigrant agent at Montreal 1842, 1847 Neilson Collection, Records of James Allison

MG24 B1

Originals: volumes 21 and 22

The database entries are linked to pdf images. The complete volumes are on microfilm C-15773

Naturalization certificates 1846-1849 Registrar General of Canada

RG68, volume 208, Liber BE, microfilm C-3951

Lists of emigrant orphans in Montreal and Quebec City 1847 Canada East. Provincial Secretary’s Office

RG4 C1, volume 204, file 3036

The database entries are linked to pdf images. The complete file is on microfilm H-2587

Agricultural questionnaires answered in 1853 by some immigrants in Canada West (Ontario) who had arrived between 1791 and 1848. Only 41 questionnaires survived. 1853 Department of Agriculture

RG17-A-II-6

Originals: volume 2325

Most of the documents are accounts submitted by teamsters and boat captains who provided inland transportation by wagon or boat to indigent immigrants. The person providing the transportation would submit the account to the government emigrant agent for reimbursement. There are also a few vouchers and receipts for other services provided, such as the delivery of provisions or the burial of deceased indigent immigrants. 1843-1854 Department of Finance

RG19, volume 2532

Note that some pages are out of order

Pages 211 to 225

Pages 226 to 255

Pages 256 to 290

Pages 291 to 343

Pages 344 to 382

Pages 383 to 418

Pages 419 to 475

Pages 476 to 513

Pages 514 to 552

Pages 553 to 579

Pages 580 to 606

Pages 606 to 629

Pages 630 to 680

Pages 681 to 714

Pages 715 to 749

Pages 750 to 762

Pages 763 to 814

Pages 815 to 870

Pages 871 to 938

Pages 939 to 987

Pages 988 to 1003

Pages 1004 to 1038

Pages 1039 to 1079

Pages 1080 to 1118

Pages 1119 to 1167

Pages 1168 to 1190

Research tips

  • The legibility of some documents is poor, so some information in the database entries may be incorrect and/or incomplete
  • Some documents do not include a given name or only include an initial. Try searching by surname only
  • Try using the * wildcard character, e.g. Rob* for Robt., Robert, etc
  • The database entries reflect the original language used in the documents and was not translated
  • The year indicated in the entry might be the year of the document and not the year of immigration
  • If there is no microfilm number in the reference, the record is not on microfilm

How to access the records

Digitized records

Only a small number of the database entries are linked directly to digitized images. If you find an entry of interest that is not linked to an image, check the List of records on this page. If the record is digitized, there will be a link in the Reference column to those images.

Records that are not digitized

If there is no link in the List of records, it means the document is not digitized. You can:

  • Visit Library and Archives Canada to view the material on site. Note that microfilm is available in self-serve consultation, so it does not have to be pre-ordered for your visit
  • Order a copy

If you submit a request to view records onsite or if you submit a copy request, the online form will ask for the reference. Include all of the details from the database entry:

  • the person’s name
  • the name of the fonds
  • the RG or MG number
  • the date
  • any volume, file, list, page and/or microfilm number that appears in the entry

Other resources

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