Immigrants from China, 1885-1949

Search this database to find records for Chinese immigrants who came to Canada and Newfoundland between 1885 and 1952. Also included are some records for the children born here to Chinese parents. Some records may contain photos.

Many of the records in this database exist because of the Chinese Immigration Act of 1885, which was the first immigration law in Canada to exclude individuals on the basis of ethnic origin. This Act, and the later Chinese Immigration Act of 1923, introduced discriminatory policies such as the Head Tax and heavily restricted Chinese immigration into the country. The final legislative restrictions on Chinese immigration to Canada were only lifted in 1947.

Search the database

  • Go to Collection Search and click on "Advanced Search"
  • In the "All these words" box, enter a name
  • In the "Database" box, select "Immigrants from China (1885-1952)"
  • In “date,” enter a specific year or time period (optional)
  • For "Specific terms," select "Certificate Number" and enter it in the box to the right (optional)
    • You may search by certificate number only, if known
  • For "Type of record," select a type from the drop-down menu (optional)
    • If you select "Newfoundland register" or a "C.I.9 certificate," you may add keywords such as "laundryman," "student," "scholar," or place of birth to the field marked “any of these words.”
  • Click the "Search" button

Access the records

Individual records are digitized in the database.

  • Note that "Item ID number" is not part of the archival reference
  • Use the "Suggest a correction" button at the bottom of the page if you find an error in the database entry

You may also browse through the images on the digitized microfilm at Héritage:

About the records

The records are organized in four series.

General registers of Chinese immigration, 1885 to 1949

The registers list the names of Chinese immigrants arriving in Canada between 1885 and 1949.

  • Some names are residents who arrived in Canada before 1885, but who were not registered until 1885 or later.
  • The names in the registers are arranged by serial number and date

The archival reference for these registers is Record Group 76 (RG76 D2a), volumes 694 to 703 and 1061 to 1068, microfilm C-9510 to C-9513 and T-3484 to T-3486.

These details are recorded in the registers:

  • 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

Port of New Westminster register of Chinese immigration, 1887 to 1908

This register lists the names of Chinese immigrants who paid the head tax at New Westminster, British Columbia in the years 1887 to 1898, 1907 and 1908.

  • This is the only register for this port
  • Names in this New Westminster register should also be found in the General Registers
  • The names are arranged in numerical order by declaration number

The archival reference for this register is Record Group 76 (RG76 D2bi), volume 693, microfilm C-9510

These details are recorded in the register:

  • 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, 1906 to 1949

Newfoundland was not part of Canada until 1949, so these names are not part of the general registers. This register contains two separate lists of names.

The archival reference for these registers is Record Group 76 (RG76 D2dv), volume 1071, microfilm T-3487.

Chinese immigrants who entered under the Newfoundland Chinese Immigration Act of 1906

The people in these lists entered Newfoundland from June 4, 1910 to March 26, 1949 and were given NF 63 certificates (numbered 1 to 384). These details are recorded in the register:

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

Chinese people who left Newfoundland temporarily or permanently

The people in these lists left Newfoundland from September 6, 1906 to February 24, 1950 and were given Newfoundland C.I.9 certificates. These details are recorded in the register:

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

C.I.9 certificates

Between 1885 and 1952, Chinese people leaving Canada for a short time had to formally register with immigration authorities. They were given a C.I.9 certificate that was valid for a limited time only.

The archival reference for these records is Record Group 76 (RG76 D2di), microfilm T-6038 to T-6052.

  • Note that there are no volume numbers.

This database includes these C.I.9 certificates:

  • issued in Vancouver between 1910 and 1919 for people born outside Canada
  • issued in Vancouver between 1915 and 1939 for people born in Canada
  • issued in Victoria between 1910 and 1920 for people born outside Canada
  • born in Canada

The certificates contain these details:

  • Date
  • Name
  • Alias
  • Age
  • Birthplace
  • Original Year of Entry
  • Current Occupation
  • Current Place of Residence in Canada
  • C.I.9 Certificate Number
  • Intended Destination
  • Photograph of the individual

Related resources at Library and Archives Canada

Passenger Lists, 1865-1922.

  • There are no passenger lists for:
    • arrivals in British Columbia before 1905
    • arrivals in Newfoundland
    • ships leaving Canada (some Chinese immigrants were allowed to visit family in China)
  • For Chinese residents leaving Newfoundland, you may find their names in the passenger lists for arrivals at the port of North Sydney, Nova Scotia

Credits

Library and Archives Canada gratefully acknowledges the contribution of the Department of History at the University of British Columbia.



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