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Port of New Westminster
Register of Chinese Immigration (1887-1908)
Online Help

Background
Database
Search Screen
How to Interpret the Results
How to Obtain Copies
Other Resources

Background

By Order in Council (P.C. 1622, 1 September 1885), the Department of Customs was made responsible for the administration of the new Chinese Immigration Act of 1885 (48-49 Vic. Chap. 71), which placed special controls on the immigration of Chinese persons and provided for the registration of Chinese immigrants in Canada. The Order in Council allowed customs officers in port offices to act as controllers of Chinese immigration. The Chief Controller of Chinese Immigration in Ottawa, to whom the controllers reported, was to maintain a general register of all Chinese immigrants entering Canada. In 1947, the Chinese Immigration Act was repealed (C.S., 11 Geo. VI, Chap. 19). Specific regulations discriminating against "Asiatic" immigrants (including the Chinese) continued, however, to be applied until the passage of the Canadian Bill of Rights in 1967.

Each controller was to maintain a register of Chinese immigrants who had entered Canada through the relevant port, recording among other details the payment of or exemption from the head tax. Each month, the controller sent lists of immigrants to the chief controller in Ottawa to be centrally registered in the Chinese General Registers of Immigration.

Identifying certificates were issued to each immigrant upon entry to Canada. They could also replace lost entry documents. The certificates were retained by the immigrant, not by the Government of Canada. Library and Archives Canada does not hold copies of the certificates.

  • The C.I.6 certificate was issued, in certain circumstances, to persons of Chinese descent who had entered Canada prior to 1885 and hence had paid no head tax.
  • The C.I.5 certificate (often called the "head tax receipt") was issued to all Chinese immigrants who arrived after 1885 and paid the head tax.

The Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration (1887-1908) (RG 76 D2bi) contains names of Chinese immigrants who registered and paid the head tax at the port of New Westminster, British Columbia, in the years 1887 to1898, 1907 and 1908. This is the only port register known to have survived. Names in this register should also be found in the Chinese General Registers of Immigration created by headquarters in Ottawa. The names are arranged in numerical sequence by declaration number.

The registers contain columns for the following information:

  • Column 2: No. of Statement and Declaration
  • Column 3: Name
  • Column 5: Date of Registration
  • Column 6: Certificate Issued C.I.5
  • Column 7: Certificate Issued C.I.6
  • Column 8: Fees Paid - Amount
  • Column 9: Sex
  • Column 10: Age
  • Column 11: Place of Birth: City or Village
  • Column 12: Place of Birth: District
  • Column 13: Place of Birth: Province etc.
  • Column 14: Title, Official Rank, Profession or Occupation
  • Column 15: Last Place of Domicile
  • Column 16: Arrival in Canada - Port or Place of
  • Column 17: Arrival in Canada - Name of Vessel, Railway or Other Conveyance
  • Column 18: Arrival in Canada - Date of
  • Column 19: Physical Marks or Peculiarities
  • Column 20: Remarks

Database

This research tool provides access to 463 references to the Port of New Westminster Register of Chinese Immigration held at Library and Archives Canada. The register was consulted in order to verify the names of immigrants.

The database entries reflect the original language used in the documents. This information was not translated.

Important note: Given that some of the names are very difficult to read, some information in the database may be incorrect and/or incomplete.

Search Screen

The search screen allows you to search by the name of the immigrant and the year of registration.

Names were inputted as they appear in the register; no distinction was made between given name(s) and surname. Try searching by surname only.

When you have entered your search terms, click on "Submit". The number of hits found will be shown at the top of the results screen.

How to Interpret the Results

Your search results will be posted as a list. Library and Archives Canada's reference to the original records appears at the top of the list.

The list contains the following fields:

Name of the immigrant (given name(s) and surname)
Age
Year of registration (taken from column 5 -- date of registration)
Page

You can export the results to a diskette or to your own computer.

Click on the icon Icon appearing on the left-hand side of the screen to see a digitized image of the page of interest to you. Then, by clicking on "Start", "Previous", "Next" and "End", you can view all of the pages of the register.

How to Obtain Copies

You can print the images or save the images on your own computer. Use the following access link for other options such as borrowing microfilm.

How to Access Library and Archives Canada Records

Other Resources

Other archival records exist for Chinese immigration. Consult Chinese to obtain more information about these records.

We suggest that you also consult census records and passenger lists. Please note that there are no passenger lists for the West Coast before 1905.