Manitoba Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

See Canada Emigration and Immigration for many more online collections covering all of Canada, including Manitoba.

Canadian Border Crossing Records[edit | edit source]

The United States kept records of people crossing the border from Canada to the United States. These records are called border crossing lists, passenger lists, or manifests. There are two kinds of manifests:

  • Manifests of people sailing from Canada to the United States.
  • Manifests of people traveling by train from Canada to the United States.

In 1895, Canadian shipping companies agreed to make manifests of passengers traveling to the United States. The Canadian government allowed U.S. immigration officials to inspect those passengers while they were still in Canada. The U.S. immigration officials also inspected train passengers traveling from Canada to the United States. The U.S. officials worked at Canadian seaports and major cities like Quebec and Winnipeg. The manifests from every seaport and emigration station in Canada were sent to St. Albans, Vermont. Because the manifests were sent to St. Albans, Vermont, they are called St. Albans District Manifest Records of Aliens Arriving from Foreign Contiguous Territory. Despite the name, the manifests are actually from seaports and railroad stations all over Canada and the northern United States, not just Vermont.

Contents. Manifests may include each passenger's name, port or station of entry, date of entry, literacy, last residence, previous visits to the United States, and birthplace.

History[edit | edit source]

Hudson's Bay Company[edit | edit source]

In 1670 the Hudson’s Bay Company was given title to Rupert’s Land, a vast area of northern and central Canada that contained waters draining into Hudson Bay. The company officials, who came from Scotland and England, had to depend on the Aboriginal people in order to survive and prosper. Many of the original fur traders married Indian women so the area soon was populated by many Métis or mixed-blood families. The records of the Hudson’s Bay Company provide researchers with many details about the people who lived in Manitoba until the Dominion of Canada government purchased Rupert’s Land in 1869.

Red River Settlement[edit | edit source]

The first permanent agricultural settlement in Manitoba was the Red River Settlement. It was established in 1812 by Lord Selkirk at the junction of the Red and the Assiniboine rivers. Problems quickly arose because the advance party was made up of men from Ireland and Scotland who did not get along. Furthermore the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company did not want an agricultural settlement in the midst of their fur trading area. From 1812 until 1820 many groups were brought into the area. Some were there to settle the uprisings that ensued. When the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company amalgamated in 1821 trail systems were developed to join the various trading posts and communities. As Company employees retired, they settled in this area which became known as the Red River Colony.

Homesteaders[edit | edit source]

After Manitoba became a province on 15 July 1870 there was a need for settlers and a railway to move people to the west. Settlement followed the development of the railway. The first people to come were people from Ontario where there was an agricultural recession. Many of these people were originally from Ireland.

Mennonite Immigration[edit | edit source]

In 1874 the first Russian Mennonite people settled on the East Reserve located on the eastern banks of the Red River southeast of Winnipeg. In 1875 a second group of Mennonite people arrived and settled on the West Reserve, seventeen townships located on the western banks of the Red River across the river from the East Reserve.

Icelanders[edit | edit source]

In 1875 a large group of Icelanders settled in the Interlake region primarily near Gimli. Many of these settlers eventually moved to the United States but others settled at Baldur, Grund and Bru areas.

Ukrainians[edit | edit source]

The other large group of settlers was the Ukrainians who first settled near Gretna in 1892. Between 1895 and the late 1920s large numbers of people came to Manitoba from Ukraine. As the homestead land in the south was taken, they moved to areas in northwest Manitoba primarily near Gladstone and Dauphin.

References[edit | edit source]