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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Finding Ships Passenger List to Canada After 1865 & Finding England Records

Tracy asked
I am seeking assistance with my ancestors, Edward Arnold and his wife Emma Smith. Edward was born 6 Jan 1828 in Stoke Golding, Buckinghamshire, England and died 25 Mar 1909 in Niagara Township, Ontario, Canada. He is the son of John Arnold (1791-?) and Ann Sharp (1802-?). He married Emma Smith sometime in the early to mid 1850s. Emma Smith was born 3 Jan 1831 in Stoneleigh, Warwickshire, England and died 16 May 1913 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada. She was the daughter of Thomas Smith (died before 1841) and Sarah Watts (1791-?).

Edward can be found in the 1841 census in Holy Trinity, Warwickshire, in 1851 in Allesley, Warwickshire, and in 1861 in Berkswell, Warwickshire with wife Emma. By 1871 Edward can be found in Niagara Township, Ontario, Canada listed as head of household. They remained in the Niagara/Lincoln area until their deaths and can be found there in the 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses.

They had the following children: Elizabeth born abt 1855; Fannie born 7 Nov 1856 and died 2 Jun 1945 in Clark Co, South Dakota; William born 10 May 1861; Harriett born 30 Dec 1861 and died 12 Dec 1910 in Niagara Township; Emma born abt 1861; Ellen (perhaps called Nellie per family lore) born 27 Apr 1863 and died 26 Jun 1927 in York, Ontario, Canada; Edward born abt 1865 and died 9 Nov 1932 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada; Frederick born Jun 1866; Henry born 10 Mar 1871 in Lincoln, Ontario, Canada; Susan Jane born 12 Sept 1871 in Queenstown, Ontario Canada and died 10 Jan 1931 in York, Ontario, Canada; Frank b. 1 Aug 1873 in Welland, Ontario, Canada; and Caroline born 9 May 1877 in Welland. Elizabeth, Fannie, William, Harriett, Emma, Ellen, Edward, and Frederick were all born in Warwickshire, England likely in Berkswell. There may have been another child named Mary for which I’ve found no record of in any of the census records, but handwritten notes by Fannie’s daughter-in-law include her. Also, family lore indicates my ancestor, Fannie, was about 10 years old when they came to Canada. Family records indicate about 1867

My questions are as follows: Where could I find passenger lists for a late 1860s crossing from England to Canada? Where can I find the burial of Edward Arnold and wife Emma Smith? I know they were Anglican per the 1871 Canadian census so is there a church cemetery where they may have been buried? Where can I find obituaries for Edward and Emma? I’ve tried to do research on some of the other children in hopes of finding more answers, but can’t get much past the 1911 census. I’m wondering if there were other children besides my ancestor Fannie who came to the U.S.? She was listed in the 1881 Niagara census though I’m unsure of the exact month it was taken. She came to Whiteside Co, Illinois and by Feb 1882 married Walter Harmon in that county. Lastly, any suggestions for finding further records on Edward and Emma’s parents?

My various sources include the English and Canadian census databases at, the 1881 census at the Library and Archives of Canada website, the various birth, marriage and death databases for Ontario at as well as the Ontario Deaths 1869-1947 database at FamilySearch. I have found various marriages and census records for Fannie’s siblings which I have omitted from this narrative (it’s already long enough J) but was attempting to get further into the 20th century in the hopes of living descendants of Edward and Emma.

Thank you for your consideration and help. Several of your previous Ask Olive blog posts have already helped me get further along on researching this family.

Olive Tree Answer: Tracy you have done a lot of research and the way you outlined it for your query is very helpful, so thank you! I'm pleased that my AskOliveTree Blog has been helpful.

Now, you have a lot of questions so forgive me but I am only going to tackle one or two today.

First question:
Where could I find passenger lists for a late 1860s crossing from England to Canada?
If your family lore is correct and their arrival was after 1865 you are in luck! Ships passenger lists to Canada did not have to be kept before 1865. So finding a passenger list for an ancestor's arrival before 1865 is extremely difficult and often without success. After 1865, you can browse the free online images (no index available) at Library & Archives Canada or you can consult the indexes at Ancestry for
Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 The images are linked to the indexes so you can see the actual page your ancestor's name was recorded on.

Second question:
Lastly, any suggestions for finding further records on Edward and Emma’s parents?
Since you already have their names, you can obtain Edward & Emma's marriage certificate, which will give their father's occupations. I use Free BMD to find the record in the index. Write down the details for ordering (Year, Quarter, District, Volume, Page) and then you order the certificate from the Government website, GRO. It is very easy to use and the certificates arrive quite promptly by mail

Being the curious sort, I had a look at FreeBMD. The only marriage for an Edward Arnold and Emma Smith occured in 1860, which is after the two births you have given. Are those birth years confirmed by a birth registration? Or are they from other sources such as census, which is much less reliable. The marriage I found took place in Meriden District which is covers the boundaries of the counties of Warwickshire and West Midlands. With Emma from Warwickshire, it would be logical for her wedding to take place there.

You can also search the census online at for their parents. Start at 1841 and work upwards - 1851, 1861 and so on. This will give you family groups, occupations and locations of birth.

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