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This is the "Passenger Lists" page of the "Chinese-Canadian Genealogy" guide.
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Passenger Lists Print Page

Passenger Lists

Few passenger lists are available for Canadian ports for the pre-1865 period. After 1865 ships' masters were required to prepare a manifesto listing all families and submit it to port authorities.

Large numbers of Chinese passengers arrived in British Columbia by ship and are recorded in passenger lists for Vancouver, Victoria and other Pacific ports. Records for B.C. ports begin only in 1905, whereas for eastern ports, they date back much earlier. Some Chinese immigrants destined for the United States were examined by U.S. immigration officials on passenger ships arriving at Vancouver or Victoria. For more information on these records, see Documents and Records for Chinese-American Genealogy.

Information collected on Canadian passenger lists varied over the years. The list below corresponds to column headings from the passenger list for the S.S. Africa Maru which arrived at Victoria on December 30, 1918.

  • No. of Passengers
  • No. of S.S. Contract Ticket
  • Amount of Cash in $
  • Name in Full
  • Age of Adults - Male / Female
  • Children Under 14 Years - Male / Female
  • Married, Single or Widowed
  • Have You Ever Been in Canada Before
  • If So - When / Where / How Long
  • Do You Intend to Permanently Reside in Canada
  • Are You Able to Read
  • Are You Able to Write
  • Country of Birth
  • Race of People
  • Destination - Post Office / Province
  • What Was Your Occupation in the Country From Which You Came?
  • What is Your Intended Occupation in Canada
  • Have You Every Worked as Farmer, Farm Labourer, Gardener, Stableman, Carter, Ry. Surfaceman, Navvy or Miner?
  • If So - Which / How Long / When
  • Religious Denomination
  • Travelled Inland on
  • Initials of Civil Examiner


Passenger lists are arranged by port and are in chronological order. Very little indexing of Canadian passenger lists has been undertaken, and no West Coast records have been indexed.

At the Vancouver Public Library

A full name index to Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 is available on the Ancestry Library Edition electronic database. Links to digital images of original records are provided. The database includes arrivals at various Canadian ports and a few eastern U.S. ports. Free access to Ancestry Library Edition is available at all Vancouver Public Library locations. Remote access from home is not available.

Ancestry Library Edition also provides access to Vancouver, British Columbia Passenger Lists - Chinese Arrivals, 1906-1912. This database contains passenger lists of Chinese passengers arriving by ship at Vancouver, British Columbia from January 3, 1906 to June 23, 1912 (excluding January 22, 1910 to January 20, 1912). Information listed in these records may include: name of passenger, gender, birth date and place, final destination, name of ship, date of arrival, port of departure, and place of last permanent residence.

The Vancouver Public Library also owns microfilm copies of passenger lists for Vancouver, Victoria and Pacific ports covering the period from 1905-1922. There are 27 reels for Victoria and Pacific ports and 15 reels for Vancouver. Dates covered by each reel are listed below. Detailed film notes identifying ships carrying Chinese passengers are available for some dates. See Ships From China to Canada's West Coast.

Victoria and Pacific Ports
Microfilm Starts with: Ends with:
T-509 19 April 1905 28 July 1905
T-510 28 July 1905 18 April 1906
T-511 18 April 1906 21 July 1907
T-512 21 July 1907 14 September 1908
T-4861 ? September 1908 23 June 1909
T-4862 3 July 1909 15 May 1910
T-4863 24 May 1910 21 January 1911
T-4864 21 January 1911 30 August 1911
T-4865 3 September 1911 6 June 1912
T-4866 7 June 1912 5 January 1913
T-4867 5 January 1913 19 August 1913
T-4868 19 August 1913 1 May 1914
T-4869 2 May 1914 21 March 1915
T-4870 21 March 1915 8 April 1916
T-4871 8 April 1916 6 December 1916
T-4872 6 December 1916 2 October 1917
T-4873 2 October 1917 11 June 1918
T-4874 11 June 1918 4 February 1919
T-14872 4 February 1919 28 July 1919
T-14873 29 July 1919 19 February 1920
T-14874 19 February 1920 22 May 1920
T-14875 22 May 1920 4 August 1920
T-14876 4 August 1920 21 October 1920
T-14877 21 October 1920 31 January 1921
T-14878 1 February 1921 13 May 1921
T-14879 13 May 1921 13 August 1921
T-14880 13 August 1921 30 September 1922


Microfilm Starts with: Ends with:
T-515 4 January 1905 8 December 1906
T-516 7 January 1907 12 June 1909
T-4581 12 June 1909 28 August 1910
T-4852 28 August 1910 9 October 1911
T-4853 15 October 1911 29 December 1912
T-4854 5 January 1913 8 January 1914
T-4855 8 January 1914 28 June 1915
T-4856 2 July 1915 2 October 1916
T-4857 14 October 1916 15 October 1917
T-4858 27 October 1917 25 August 1918
T-4859 25 August 1918 30 May 1919
T-14867 11 June 1919 2 February 1920
T-14868 7 February 1920 3 July 1920
T-14869 3 July 1920 30 November 1920
T-14870 1 December 1920 8 July 1921
T-14871 8 July 1921 28 September 1922
T-14871 8 July 1921 28 September 1922


A detailed listing of the contents of microfilms T-515 and T-516 (Vancouver arrivals, 4 January 1905 to June 12, 1908) and T-509 to T-512 (Victoria arrivals, 18 April 1905 to 14 September 1908) is available in:

[Finding Aids to Passenger Lists of Ships, 1901-1910]
Public Archives Canada
[Ottawa: Public Archives of Canada, 198-]
Ref. 929.371 P97f

This book lists the name of each ship and the exact date and port at which it arrived in Canada, making it easy to quickly identify whether the passenger list was submitted at Victoria, Vancouver or another port. The same volume also lists names of ships arriving at eastern Canadian ports from 1900-1908. The exact range of dates covered for each port varies.

At Library and Archives Canada

Passenger lists in custody of Library and Archives Canada are now available in Ancestry Library Edition (see above). For those who prefer to browse microfilm copies of passenger lists for east coast ports, including Quebec, Montreal, Halifax, St. John, North Sydney and others, these are available on microfilm, at Library and Archives Canada. The range of dates covered is 1865-1935.

Detailed information about passenger lists at Library and Archives Canada is available on the Library and Archives' Immigration web page.


The Nanaimo Family History Society has undertaken a major project of indexing Canadian passenger lists. Currently, the project is indexing arrivals at Quebec ports from 1905 onwards. The period from 25 June 1905 to 13 October has been completed and an index is available. During this period, the vast majority of Chinese immigrants to Canada were still arriving at West Coast ports, but the Quebec records do include a few individuals of Chinese origin. To access the index, see the Nanaimo Family Society's Passenger List Project page.

In co-operation with Library and Archives Canada, the Pier 21 Society of Halifax has indexed names from 1925-1935 passenger lists and made them available in a free online database: Immigration Records (1925-1935). Note that the period covered by the database, 1925-1935, falls entirely into the period from 1923 to 1947 when the Chinese were barred from entering Canada under the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923. Thus, very few Chinese names are found in the database.



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