|Back to columns page | Dave's other sites: > CanGenealogy > Genealogy Unlimited > Volhynia|
|Canadian passenger lists on the Internet|
By Dave Obee
Library and Archives Canada has posted images of passenger lists on its web site. Until now, these lists have only been available on microfilm, and could only be found in the larger libraries across the land. Now anybody with an Internet connection can access these images at any time of the day, in the comfort of their own homes.
Library and Archives Canada has about 22,000 lists in its collection, covering 1865 through 1935. All of them are not yet included in the online database, but we do have access now to lists for Quebec to 1921, Halifax from 1881 through 1912, and so on. The rest are coming soon.
The passenger list provides the names of immigrants arriving at an official port of entry on a particular ship on a given date. Each manifest usually includes:
Format varies over the years, and so does the amount of information you will find. Generally, the later the list, the more details you will glean from it.
The passenger lists are often the sole surviving official records of the arrival of immigrants in Canada.
Library and Archives Canada has included an index to the images, but it includes the name of the ship, not the name of the passenger. So you might still need to do a bit of searching to find your person. But at least you can do it according to your schedule, and without leaving your home. The search screen allows you to search by:
So what do you do if you don't know the date, or the name of the ship? You will probably need to do a bit of old-fashioned searching, frame by frame, ship by ship. Unless, of course, your people left clues to make it easy to find them.
Check the 1901, 1906 and 1911 censuses for references to years of arrival. Or check the 1940 National Registration, which has the same information. Just bear in mind that these dates might not be accurate.
Beyond that, some indexing has taken place. One of the most important projects has been done by the Nanaimo Family History Society in British Columbia. Society members have indexed Quebec arrivals from 1908 through 1910. More than 280,000 names are included.
Germans from Russia have been indexed by a team led by George Dorscher of Calgary. That information is on the Odessa3 web site.
Another source is Ingeneas, a web site based in Ontario that has extracted a lot of immigration information.
Now that all of those images are online, though, it's just a matter of months until we will have access to a comprehensive index spanning many years. Just wait and see.
Library and Archives Canada has also posted an index, linked to images, of the famed Li-Ra-Ma collection of Russian consular documents. These deal with Russian citizens who came to Canada before the Russian revolution. This set has been available on microfilm for a few years, but now we can get at it through our computers.
Unlike the passenger lists, this set is indexed by individual names. The catch is that many spellings might not be what we would expect, so be sure to use the wild card option.
Posted October 22, 2006
|Back to home page | Dave's other sites: > CanGenealogy > Genealogy Unlimited > Volhynia|