Re: Obtaining Canadian Immigration Records #general
Subject: Re: Obtaining Canadian Immigration RecordsThere seems to be some confusion regarding various Canadian
With few exceptions, there are only two types of records available.
Ship arrival records and naturalization records. The 1911 census
form requested both the year of arrival in Canada and the year of
Ship arrival records are generally not indexed. Without knowing the
port and approximate arrival date, it is virtually impossible to
locate the correct record. The main exception is for the years
1925-35 which are indexed. There is a pointer to the search engine
for these years on the JGS-Montreal home page
(http://jgs-montreal.org). There is no citizenship or residency
requirement for accessing these records. I think that the LDS Family
History Library has all of these microfilms.
Original naturalization records prior to 1915 are generally not
available - all that remains is an index card containing very
rudimentary information (equivalent to the details that you need to
supply to get the record). Naturalizations for 1915-1932 have been
indexed by the JGS-Montreal and are searchable on the Canadian
Genealogy Centre's web site. It is accessible via the JGS-Montreal
web site (the search engine is a bit cumbersome, but work is underway
to streamline this). We are just starting a new project to index the
1931-51 records. The naturalization records contain a wealth of
information, but perhaps most importantly, they usually give the port
and exact date of arrival in Canada. If arrival was through the US,
they usually also list the US arrival details. In many cases, a wife
and children were naturalized along with the father. If the
naturalization was prior to 1915, there are no original records, but
if the wife or a child later applied for a naturalization certificate
in their own name (quite common), many details of the original
application (including arrival information) are often replicated in
this later application.
These naturalization records can only be requested by Canadian
citizens or residents (they are available under the Canadian Access
to Information laws, which grant access only to those categories of
people). However, there is no requirement that the requestor be
directly related to the person naturalized. So any friend or
colleague who is Canadian or lives in Canada can make the request.
Details of how to make the request and what information is required
is also on the JGS-Montreal web site.
Note that technically naturalization records can be requested without
the index, but in practice the index provides the naturalization
certificate number which increases the likelihood of a successful request.