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Frequently Asked Questions - Research Request

Can I search for an immigration record on the Museum’s website?

No, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 does not have immigration records on the website. The Scotiabank Family History Centre staff use a variety of internal and external sources to locate immigration records, manifests and passenger lists. Click here to go to our Reference Request section if you would like to locate an immigration record.

We do have a database of some of the ship arrivals which contains the name of the ship and the estimated date of arrival. There are no records in this database but it can be used as a tool to determine a ship or date of arrival. Please note the Ship Arrival Database is based on incomplete records. The source material for 1960 and 1962-1966 was damaged or missing. Some crossings, such as those chartered by refugee assistance organizations, may not be reflected. To search this database click here.

How do I find a passenger list/manifest/immigration record?

The Scotiabank Family History Centre offers remote research services for people who are not able to visit the museum but would like to locate an immigration record of a family member or ancestor. Please use the online form to submit a research request. Copies of documents located by the Scotiabank Family History Centre team can be purchased for $15 + tax (if applicable). Prices subject to change. Staff will give payment options once the record has been found. To contact the Scotiabank Family History Centre with your request, click here to go to our Reference Request section.

Do you have a book of names/signatures of everyone who entered Canada through Pier 21 or any other port?

No, there is no book of names/signatures of everyone who entered Canada through Pier 21 or any other port. This seems to be a widespread misconception which we are often asked about. Traditionally, ship manifests, and later immigration paperwork, were kept in large ledger books which may have contributed to the rise of this belief.

Do you have the names of everyone who entered Canada through Pier 21 or any other port mounted on walls at the Museum?

No, the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 does not have the names of everyone who entered Canada through Pier 21 on our walls. A growing list of names on the Museum’s walls, are contributed by Museum donors via the Sobey Wall of Honour and Wall of Service programs. Click here to learn how you can support the Museum and have a name inscribed on a brick at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

Do you have pictures of everyone who immigrated to Canada through Pier 21 or any other port?

No, Canadian ports of entry did not traditionally have a staff photographer on site. Over the years there have been photographs taken at Pier 21 by various photographers. Click here to visit the “Are you in this picture” section to view a selection of photos.

Do you have photographs of the ships/information about the ships?

Yes, we currently have over 700 images of a variety of ships available for purchase. Ship Photos are 8” by 10”, include a personalized caption depicting the immigration information which you provide and are housed in a clip frame. Each Ship Photo comes with an Information Package about the ship. Click here for details on how to order and to view the Ship Photo Collection. If you are interested in only a Ship Information Package please email sfhc@pier21.ca

Do you offer genealogical/family history services?

Yes, Scotiabank Family History Centre has experienced researchers on staff who are able to help you begin your family research, assist you with your genealogical brick walls or point you in the right direction with your own research. Please email sfhc@pier21.ca with your questions. You will be contacted via email in 5 to 10 business days to begin your research.

Do you charge for reference services?

The Scotiabank Family History Centre offers remote research services for people who are not able to visit the museum but would like to locate an immigration record of a family member or ancestor. Please use the online form to submit a research request. Copies of documents located by the Scotiabank Family History Centre team can be purchased for $15 + tax (if applicable). Prices subject to change. Staff will give payment options once the record has been found.

Do you have information about the Canadian soldiers who embarked from Pier 21 during the Second World War?

No, the only information that we have from this period is a list of ship names and dates provided by the Canadian government which describes the comings and goings of ships during the war years. No information about the soldiers on the ships is available at the Museum. However, it is available from the Library and Archives Canada Personnel Records Unit. You will need to know the ship name and its date of departure. If you do not have information you will need to order the soldier’s Service Records from Library and Archives Canada. Click here to access this form.

(Note: You must have signed permission from the soldier to obtain his/her Service Records or the soldier must be deceased for 20 years. Proof of death and relationship is required.)

Once you receive the Service Records and you have the ship and date of departure you can contact Library and Archives Canada Personnel Records Unit to obtain information regarding the crossing. You should specify that you are requesting information from the Second World War sailing lists and provide identifying details about the soldier (name, date of birth and regimental number). Click here for more information.

If you have any questions which were not addressed in our Frequently Asked Questions, contact:

Cara MacDonald
Reference Services Manager
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
1055 Marginal Road
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4P7

Tel: 902-425-7770 ext. #224
Toll Free: 1-855-526-4721 ext. #224
Fax: 902-423-4045