Nova Scotia Emigration and Immigration

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

See also, Canada Online Genealogy Records.

Ancestry.com ($)[edit | edit source]

Records at Ancestry.com may be used free-of-charge at a 'Family History Center near you.


Introduction[edit | edit source]

Passenger lists before 1881 for Nova Scotia are practically nonexistent; however, the Public Archives of Nova Scotia does have a few scattered lists for ships arriving from Great Britain (no more than 30). These cover many of the years between 1749 and 1864. There is one list for ships arriving from France in 1636. Two valuable indexes for this early period are:

  • Smith, Leonard H. Nova Scotia Immigrants to 1867. 2 vols. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1992–1994. (Family History Library book 971.6 W2S)
  • Norton, Judith A.New England Planters in the Maritime Provinces of Canada, 1759–1800: Bibliography of Primary Sources. Toronto; Buffalo [N.Y.]: University of Toronto Press in association with Planters Studies Center, Acadia University, 1993. (Family History Library book 971.5 W23n)

The passenger lists from 1881 to 1900 for ships arriving at Halifax are available on microfilm at the Public Archives of Nova Scotia, the Family History Library, or local family history centers (on 12 Family History Library films beginning with 1642682). Many arriving passengers are also mentioned in Halifax newspapers.

British Naval Office Shipping Lists, 1678-1825, have been digitized by British Online Archives (site requires subscription). Names of passengers are not included.

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 Québec and Winnipeg. The manifests from every seaport and emigration station in Canada were sent to St. Albans, Vermont.

Contents[edit | edit source]

Title of Collection NARA Microfilm (# Rolls) FHL (Starting Roll#) Type Special Conditions
Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924 M1461 (400 rolls. Missing roll 218) 1472801 Index Soundex name index to entries at ports along the border and Great Lakes. Includes
• ALL manifest lists from 1895-1917.
• After June 1917, includes only arrivals east of North Dakota-Montana state line. Anyone entering west of this state line after 1917 was filed in Seattle.
• 1915 to 1924 indexes cover ports east of Buffalo, New York only.
In most cases, an original manifest exists. Some index cards are the only record of crossing, with no original manifest.
Alphabetical Index to Canadian Border Entries through Small Ports in Vermont, 1895-1924 M1462 (6 rolls) 1430987 Index Arranged alphabetically by ports of entry, all in Vermont. Especially useful for identifying Canadians who settled in the New England area.
Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952 M1463 (98 rolls) 1570714 Index Includes border crossings in New York and Vermont area.
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954 M1464 (640 rolls) 1561087 Original manifests Manifests indexed by the above Soundex indexes. These forms were completed when the immigrant entered the U.S. through a border port station. Most European immigrants will be found in these lists.
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949 M1465 (25 rolls) 1549387 Original manifests Supplement to the above manifests. These manifests list travelers to the United States from Canadian Pacific seaports only.
Card Manifests (Alphabetical) of Individuals Entering through the Port of Detroit, Michigan, 1906-1954 M1478, M1479 (140 rolls) 1490449 Original card manifests Original card manifests, arranged alphabetically, for Michigan ports of entry only: Bay City, Detroit, Port Huron, Sault Sainte Marie (117 rolls).
An additional 23 rolls Include passenger and alien crew lists of vessels arriving in Detroit, 1946 to 1957.