52 Ancestors: Week 48 – Deportation Records at the LAC

The prompt for Week 48 of 52 ancestors if \”thief\”. Not all of our ancestors were upstanding citizens. Genealogists and Family Historians tend to be thrilled finding these ancestors, because they make for interesting stories for others. Let\’s face it, our relatives who haven\’t been bit by the genealogy bug tend to get all glassy eyed when we talk about our passion. If we have an interesting ancestor though, they have more interest in what we\’re saying. This post I decided to look at records relating to the deportation records. Do you have an ancestor who came to Canada, but mysteriously vanished from records? Or maybe they somehow ended back in their country of birth and you can\’t figure out why. You might want to look at the deportation records through Library and Archives Canada then.

Library and Archives Canada has a great overview on what you can find on their web page Thematic Guide – Deportation from Canada, 1893-1977. What I\’m going to focus on is the files belonging to the record group Records of the Immigration Branch (RG76). This group of records is by no means complete, as not all records have survived. They have three groupings of records:

  • Files that relate to an individual deportee
  • Files that include lists of names or correspondence about particular deportees
  • Files that do not contain names of deportees
Before you get started, you\’ll want to open a new window on your computer and have Heritage open and ready to go. The microfilms have been digitized, but you can\’t view them on LAC\’s website. You can only view them on Heritage. What you\’re going to do is note the microfilm details and then put that microfilm number into Heritage\’s search box. 
Files on Individual Deportees
Click on the heading. This will reveal a list of names that do not appear to be in any particular order. Once you find a name that interests you, take note of the file information. I scrolled through and found this rather interesting entry

As you can see, this is for an entire family. So, we want to look at microfilm C-10430, file 774753. Next we\’ll go to Heritage and enter C-10430 in the search box.
In the results, the top result is the microfilm we want. Now we\’re going to click on that and find the file we need. Because there is not search capability, we\’re going to jump back and forth through the images until we find the file. This can be done by jumping head on images by using the image tab on the left
And then looking at the bottom of the digitized document for the file number. 
So I found the first page of the file. It is quite a few pages. Apparently it started with a letter from a local citizen complaining about the recent immigrants from England. 
Long story short, the Department of Immigration investigated, and decided to deport the family in 1908. John, his wife Eliza and five children were sent by train to Montreal, then to Maine. Once there they were boarded on a ship to Liverpool. They were deemed undesirable because \”Mortimer is a drunkard, abusive to his wife and family and the neighbours speak against him…\”. The file also includes
  • Names and ages of each family member
  • John\’s occupation and some work history
  • Ship name and dates of immigration
  • How they arrived in Chatham
  • Ship name and date of departure back to England
  • Residence of John Mortimer\’s mother in England
  • Their trip to Canada was paid for by the Central (Unemployed) Body in England
  • A letter from Eliza Mortimer\’s father inquiring as to why the family was deported, and the response from the Department of Immigration
A sad end to this file is a letter written by John\’s wife Eliza in 1923. Apparently John deserted the family and boarded ship under an assumed name back to Canada. She is writing in hopes the Immigration Department can find him. One of their children has died, and another has been hospitalized. The letter gives her address in London. The Department wrote back asking for information, but that\’s where the file ends.
Lists and Correspondence of Individual Deportees
You open the entries the same as for the group above. In this group I found this entry

When I switched over to Heritage, I looked at microfilm C-10634, and looked for file 805792. This huge file involves the following Scottish men\”

  • Ross Fraser
  • Horatio Dunlop
  • Donald Tough
  • David Moffat
  • William McBride
  • David Anderson
  • Robert Hill
  • James Quinn
  • Peter Tierney
  • Charles Miller
  • Donald/W McLean
  • John Ferguson
  • James Hughes
  • James Hutchison
As the below states, these men were brought over from Glasgow as strike breakers, and then let go once the strike was over

This was the rail company\’s response

As with the previous section, you can find a ton of little details about the men. Within the first 25 or so pages I found:
  • Immigration details
  • Work history and pay
  • Family and friends names back in Scotland, some with addresses
  • Current address
There was also deportation details on some additional men in the same file:
  • Alfred Black
  • John Skinner
  • Malcolm McLean
  • Joseph Healey
  • William Robertson
  • John Phillips
  • Patrick Rawdon
Files Not Containing Individual Names of Deportees
This section deals with documents generated within the Government and their agencies themselves. The only names mentioned are those employed within the Government, rail companies, and steam ship companies. It also includes some governmental policies and procedures. When I looked through the entries, I found this

Now when I looked at this file, part 7 has letters from various agencies asking for the Alien registration of 1917/18. Its the section two after that that is interesting

In this section is correspondence with various immigration agencies, providing samples of the Enemy Alien Registration Exeat form. These were used when the person wished to leave Canada. However, in this section are also completed forms. Here\’s one that even includes a picture

Now, for any of these sections, you can save the documents to your computer by right clicking on the image, and choosing save image. This will be better than just a screen shot, because as you can see above, it also includes the source information at the bottom.

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