New Brunswick Emigration and Immigration

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

See also, individual online lists found in Provincial Secretary Administration Records.

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.

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick[edit | edit source]

The major port for the maritime provinces has always been Halifax, Nova Scotia. As with the rest of eastern Canada, New Brunswick has a few scattered ship lists for the period before 1865. The few ship lists from the Acadian period can be found at the Acadian Center, Moncton University. There are a few British ship lists from about 1815 to 1860 on microfilm reels F-1697 and F-1698 at the National Archives of Canada.

The Provincial Archives has recently indexed a series of passenger lists. The sub-series RS23E consists of the passenger lists. These lists are for the following ports and years:

  • St. John—1816, 1833, 1834, 1838
  • St. Andrews—1837, 1838
  • Bathurst—1837

Provincial Secretary Administration Records[edit | edit source]

"For those hoping to use this series to find a particular ancestor, they are likely to be disappointed for these records do not contain many lists of immigrants (although there are a few, which are noted). If, however, the researcher is interested in documenting the experiences and plight of their ancestors who were involved in the several waves of immigration, this series is will prove valuable. From violations of the Passenger Act to disease and death in the Immigrant Station at Partridge Island, this series is noteworthy for the amount of detail it contains regarding the conditions of the immigrants, especially those from Ireland, on their arrival in New Brunswick. As well, there is a fairly detailed record of the passenger ships which arrived in the peak years of 1814 to 1867.[1]

Newspapers[edit | edit source]

  • Newspapers, PANB Use full-text search to find names of people mentioned in articles.

Fitzwilliam Estate Emigration Books, 1847-1856[edit | edit source]

In reaction to the Potato Famine many landlords in Ireland evicted impoverished tenants, enabling them to be rid of the encumbrance these people could become on their already struggling estates. Some landlords, hoping for a more humane way to ease the burden looked to assisted emigration, sending surplus tenants overseas with incentives.

In the years between 1847 and 1856 nearly 6000 “surplus” or unviable tenants from the Fitzwilliam Estate, County Wicklow, Ireland were sent across the Atlantic to Canada. The estate was over 85,000 acres, covering one-fifth of the entire county of Wicklow and had more than 20,000 tenants. 383 of these tenants were sent to St. Andrews, New Brunswick on the Star, their voyage funded by their landlord. They had been promised three months’ work on railroad construction in New Brunswick, after which they might be kept on. In comparison to the vast majority of famine emigrants, they appear to have been in an enviable position. However, they were received by an ill equipped emigrant welfare system and a railway company unprepared for their numbers. The experience of these emigrants highlights the inadequacies and conditions they met with upon starting a new life in New Brunswick, including periods of continued destitution and reliance on the province for support. Yet, despite these issues a large number of Star immigrants remained in and contributed to St. Andrews and the surrounding area with lasting results. This database contains the records of those families who left the Fitzwilliam Estate on the Star during these clearances.[2]

Irish Teacher Petitions, 1816-1858[edit | edit source]

Irish immigrants in New Brunswick taught in one-third of New Brunswick schools by the mid nineteenth century, the majority quickly becoming licensed teachers shortly after their arrival and remaining in the profession. Teachers’ petitions from Irish immigrants requesting a license or payment for teaching services contain biographical information including names, country of birth, education, teaching experience, church affiliation, samples of handwriting and certificates from local school trustees or clergymen verifying the character and abilities of the petitioner.

The records gathered here comprise 509 of these petitions and copies of licenses or certifications from 1816-1858 declaring the petitioner’s country of birth to be Ireland. These Irish records represent a small portion of the 6645 teachers’ petitions which exist in RS655 Teachers’ Petitions and Licences, 1812-1882. Researchers should be aware that documentation on other Irish teachers no doubt exist in RS655 but only those records which state that the individual originated from Ireland are included here.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Provincial Secretary Administration Records", Provincial Archives of New Brunswick,, accessed 13 November 2020.
  2. "Fitzwilliam Estate Emigration Books, 1847-1856", PANB,, accessed 13 November 2020.
  3. "Teacher Petition Database", PANB,, accessed 13 November 2020.