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Genealogy and Family History

What to Search: Topics

Immigration and Citizenship

Royal Mail Ship Metagama of Canadian Pacific Steam Ship Lines. Library and Archives Canada, C-166332


Royal Mail Ship Metagama of Canadian Pacific
Steam Ship Lines.
Library and Archives Canada,

When you trace back your family tree, you will inevitably reach an immigrant ancestor. Knowing when and how that individual arrived in Canada is a major piece of the family puzzle. If you do not know where your ancestors came from or their ethnic origin, immigration records can help answer that question.

Consult our Bibliography for further information on this topic.

Terminology and Abbreviations

The Web site Forging our Legacy [] provides a survey history and traces the evolution of Canadian citizenship and the role played by immigration in the development of Canada from the turn of the century until 1977.

When Did Your Ancestor Arrive in Canada?

If you do not know the approximate year of your ancestor's arrival, we suggest you search other records for clues:

  • The 1901, 1906 and 1911 Census indicate year of arrival for immigrants.
  • Land Records are helpful because immigrants often applied for land shortly after arrival.
  • The annual City Directories can sometimes help. For example, if an individual's name first appears in the directory in 1910, it is possible that he or she arrived in 1909.
  • Death Records sometimes indicate how many years the deceased had resided in Canada.
  • The National Registration of 1940 asked year of arrival.

Quality of the Microfilm

The passenger lists, border entry lists, Forms 30 and 30A were microfilmed in the 1940s and 1950s and were not produced to archival standards. As a result, the quality of some microfilm reels is poor. Also, on some pages, the ink had faded before the records were filmed. Unfortunately, the original records were not retained after they were filmed.


The old Immigration Branch did not retain their old files on individual immigrants and deportees. There are some general files relating to deportation, which sometimes include lists of names. You can search for possible records in the ARCHIVED - Government of Canada Files database.

Keywords: "deportation" "deported" "undesirable" "undesirables" "insane"
Record Group: 76