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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian:Immigration Records by Patricia McGregor, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Other Immigration Records
Another new addition by Library and Archives Canada is Immigrants from China, General Registers of Chinese Immigration covering the years 1885-1949. You can access this searchable database.
There are also some provincial records for Ontario when there was an Immigration Branch under the Department of Agriculture.
- “There are some Arrival Destination registers with nominal lists from their field agencies at Kingston 1862-1878, Quebec 1872-1875 and Montreal 1878. (AO, RG11, Series M, Vol. 2; mfm MS 847 reel 6 and 7). (Merriman 1996, 142)
Recommended reading: Province of Ontario Immigration Records, An Overview, by Fawne Stratford-Devai.
The Toronto Emigrant Office
The first emigrant office in Upper Canada was opened in 1833 in Toronto, headed by A. B. Hawke. Mr. Hawke, as Chief Emigrant Agent for Upper Canada/Canada West from 1833 to 1864, was instrumental in establishing services to assist immigrants in Upper Canada. It is not totally clear which communities other than Toronto, Kingston, and Hamilton had proper “offices” as such, but Hawke received reports from agents in Ottawa, Port Hope, Peterborough, Cobourg, Prescott, and other locations at various times. Hawke’s records are held by the Archives of Ontario.
An index to the four volumes of assisted immigration registers created by the Toronto Emigrant Office between 1865 and 1883 has been created and made available online by the Archives of Ontario. The database contains a chronological listing of transcriptions of the names of over 29,000 new immigrants who were assisted by the government to travel to various destinations in southern Ontario. The following webpage contains a link to the searchable database.
Olive Tree Genealogy has been adding transcriptions of Return of Emigrants Landed at the Port of Kingston Ontario, Canada 1861-1882. Transcribed from FHL Film 1405913: Arrival/Destination records (series M) 1862-1881 Vols. 1-7.
Also at Olive Tree, is an index of transcriptions of the Names of Emigrants at Montreal Quebec Canada 1845-1847 from the records of James Allison, Emigration Agent at Montreal.
Records of the Sick and Destitute
The Society For The Relief Of Strangers In Distress was established in York (Toronto) in 1817 and in 1828 was renamed the Society For The Relief Of The Sick And Destitute. The Toronto Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society accessed and transcribed a number of records including a Record Book of the society which contained information on families in need and has indexed and published the information in a book titled The Records Of The Society For The Relief Of The Sick and Destitute 1817-1847.
The following entry is from page 9 in the Provisions section and is transcribed from page 214 of the “Provisions Issued to the Sick and Destitute Poor of York from the 7th of March 1829 to 31st December 1831.”
- 12 July 1831, Francis Beamish, Residence: Wooden Buildings; 1 man, 1 woman, 3 children; given tickets for 5 pounds of beef and 25 pounds of flour; recommended by Dr. Baldwin; Remarks: “He has got 3 children in the hospital sick”
Library and Archives Canada has recently added another database to their site. The Montreal Emigrant Society Passage Book for 1832 contains notes on those individuals to whom they provided assistance between May and November 1832. The site is a searchable database.
Answer to Castle Garden Exercise
A search for John PULLMAN, who disappeared after the 1851 census in Devon, England and showed up in a Toronto City Directory in 1869 produces 3 hits (December 2, 2005). Two of them can probably be eliminated.
- one ship arrived before our John was born (1834)
- the John Pullman on the 1868 ship was 53—too old to be our John
The third hit is intriguing, but more research is required to be certain: The John Pullman we are researching was born in Devon, England, not Ireland, but all of the other information fits.
- Name: John Pullman
- Occupation: Labourer
- Age: 17
- Arrived: 22 Mar 1858
- Origin: Ireland
- Port: Liverpool
- Destination: USA
- Plan: Unknown
- Ship: Ellen Austin
Further research could include:
- a search of the 1860 census for New York State
- a search of the 1861 census for Toronto
- further research in Devon records
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Immigration Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at email@example.com
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.