Ontario Emigration and Immigration

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Loyalists[edit | edit source]

Black Canadians[edit | edit source]

Border Crossings[edit | edit source]

Canadian Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Passenger lists for ships coming to major Canadian ports after 1865 are described in Canada Emigration and Immigration.

Immigrant Groups[edit | edit source]

Europeans. The original European settlers came in the early 18th century from France or from French Canada. They first settled the area surrounding the Detroit and St. Clair Rivers, which now separate Ontario from Michigan. Ontario has continued to receive significant numbers of overseas settlers from that time to the present day.

Americans, Loyalists. Beginning in 1784, large numbers of American Loyalists came from the United States to settle along the St. Lawrence River.

Most of the earliest settlers of Upper Canada (Ontario) were natives of the United States. By 1810, eighty percent of the white population of the province was estimated to have been born in the U.S., but only 25 percent of them were Loyalists (who had arrived by 1796) or their descendants. The rest were Americans who had recently come to Canada for land or other economic opportunities. New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were listed as states of origin of many of these "late Loyalists," as they were sometimes called.

British. The British Isles soon replaced the United States as the main source of immigration to Ontario. Many Irish settlers came beginning about 1820. About sixty percent of the Canadian Irish were Protestant.

Black Canadians. There is a sizable community of Black Canadians in Southern Ontario who trace their ancestry to African-American slaves who used the Underground Railroad to flee from the United States, seeking refuge and freedom in Canada. From the late 1820s, through the time that the United Kingdom itself forbade slavery in 1833, until the American Civil War began in 1861, the Underground Railroad brought tens of thousands of fugitive slaves to Canada. See Wikipedia: Black Canadians.

Home Children. Some children certainly arrived in Canada before Confederation in 1867, but it is the estimated 100,000 or more who came between 1869 and 1948 whom Canadians call Home Children. These young people, between the ages of six months and their mid-twenties, were from institutions in Great Britain. They were brought to Canada for adoption, or as farm helpers, farm labourers and domestic servants

Eastern Europeans. Large numbers of immigrants came into Ontario from Britain and from eastern Europe during the pre-World War I period, 1891-1914. Jews, Slavs, Ukrainians, and Italians contributed to the ethnic diversity of large cities such as Toronto.

Emigration[edit | edit source]

Michigan Emigrants. A favorite 19th-century destination of Canadians leaving Ontario was Michigan. About one out of every four Michigan families finds a direct connection to Ontario.

Archives of Ontario and the National Archives of Canada[edit | edit source]

Various collections of papers in the Archives of Ontario and the National Archives of Canada list names from British-subsidized emigration programs such as the Irish movement into the Ottawa Valley and near Peterborough, 1823-1825, led by Peter Robinson. Many of those lists have been published in various sources, including those given in Brenda D. Merriman's Genealogy in Ontario.

Overseas immigrants to Ontario usually landed at Quebec or at ports in the northeastern U.S., then took smaller vessels or came overland into Ontario. Very few lists for Canadian ports exist before 1865, and only a handful for U.S. ports prior to 1820. Some names of early immigrants have been indexed in:

Ontario Department of Immigration Records, 1869-1897[edit | edit source]

Under the confederation of 1867, both the Dominion Government and the Provincial Governments had responsibility for immigration. The Archives of Ontario and the Family History Library have some Ontario Department of Immigration records for 1869-97.

Digitized Department of Immigration Records[edit | edit source]

These records can be viewed in digital form at a Family History Center near you.

Much family information is included in two alphabetical series of Six-Dollar Bonus Refunds for 1872-76. About one-fifth of the immigrants into Ontario during that time had such papers. See:

Applications for Passage Warrants (Series L). 1872-88. Four Volumes. (Family History Library film 1405912.) Lists names and locations in Ontario of immigrants whose passage was paid by sponsors. Family members' names and ages are sometimes given. The 1872 and 1873 lists give some immigrants' exact street addresses in Europe. Digitized.

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.

Books[edit | edit source]

  • Crowder, Norman K. Early Ontario Settlers: A Source Book. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993. FHL Collection. WorldCat. Transcribes and indexes various provisioning lists and returns of settlers during 1783-89.
  • Fitzgerald, E. Keith. Ontario People 1796-1803. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1993. FHL Collection. WorldCatHas district Loyalist rolls.
  • "Emigrant Returns of early settlers, 1815-1834"in Land records, ca. 1792-1876. (Family History Library films 1319966 items 1-5 and 1319967 items 6-11.) These are mainly for Lanark, Leeds, and Perth counties. The Archives of Ontario has filmed copies.
  • Bruce S. Elliott ; index by De Alton Owens.The McCabe list : early Irish in the Ottawa valley.&nbsp Toronto, Ontario : Ontario Genealogical Society, 1991.  ISBN: 0-7779-2124-3. FHL Collection. WorldCat. This list contains the names, places of origin in Ireland, and more information for nearly 700 Irish men who lived in and near Bytown (now Ottawa) in 1829.
  • Holt, Ruth and Margaret Williams. Genealogical Extraction and Index of the Canada Company Remittance Books 1843-1847. Three Volumes. Weston, Ontario and Oakville, Ontario: Holt and Williams, 1990. FHL Collection. WorldCat.
  • Filby, P. William. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Three Volumes. plus annual supplements. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1981-. FHL Collection. WorldCat.

References[edit | edit source]