For Irish immigration within Canada in the early nineteenth century, a major resource has recently been indexed online. The St. Lawrence Steamboat Company regularly transported goods and passengers on the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec. The lists for the passengers from 1819-1838 survive. This means that with a little care and a lot of wisdom, a new source has just been opened up for research.
Information Found in the Records
These manuscript records will provide lists of passengers on a particular steamboat on a particular day. They are simple in their presentation so you have to do a lot of “reading between the lines.” Remember, this source affects not only Canadian migration but also many of these people would have eventually migrated to the United States.
Information includes the date of the trip, where the steamboat embarked and landed, fare paid and sometimes general remarks. The names themselves are sometimes abbreviated as in Mr. Kelly, Mrs. Kelly, or Miss. Kelly. If you find an entry of interest you have to take into consideration everyone on the steamboat. This may help you determine the identity of Mr. Kelly. Also, since interrelated families may have travelled together, you may find a group from the same place in Ireland your ancestor was from
When families were travelling together, you will see only the number of children being listed. As children under 12 travelled for half fare, the number of children should reflect this. There are no ages attached to the names. The collection is indexed with scanned images in “Canada, St. Lawrence Steamboat Company Passenger Lists, 1819-1838” on Ancestry.com.
This is Not Necessarily a Straightforward Source
Remember, this is not a straightforward resource. You have to think past what the index and the record itself is conveying to determine if the Mr. Kelly on that steamboat was actually yours.
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