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Chapter 3:
By Annette Fulford - 2002

National Archives Of Canada &150; Searching the Canadian Immigration Records (1925-1935) Database

Have you come across an ancestor whose life story intrigues you? Does one person in particular stand out from the crowd? For me, it was not a member of my family but the life of family friend, Karl PEDERSEN, which left me captivated and wanting to learn more.

My fascination with family history began at a family reunion in 1989, but it wasn&146;t until 1992, that I became aware one could pursue this growing hobby. In 1998, I decided to try and learn more about Karl&146;s life, but by that time Karl had passed away in his native homeland, Norway. I began my search by learning all I could from family sources. My father told me that Karl came to Canada in the late 1920s, shortly after the death of his wife, an Opera singer, from a burst blood vessel in her throat. He left behind a young son to be raised by his sister. It is an integral part of his oral history I am hoping to eventually verify and learn more about.

Karl&146;s son was approximately the same age as my father so I knew my search should begin after 1926, but unfortunately there are not many records to search in Canada post-1901. However, there are exceptions to the rule, depending on which province you are searching in, such as Death registrations: 1872 to 1981 in British Columbia and the 1921, 1935 and 1945 Census records for Newfoundland. The National Registration File of 1940 (available from Statistics Canada for a fee at and provincial directories are additional resources available to search, but I have not been able to learn where Karl lived between 1927 and 1969 to make use of these resources.

On June 30, 2000, I logged on to ArchiviaNet, the "on-line research tool", at the National Archives of Canada to check for updates. To my amazement they had a brand-new database on-line: IMMIGRATION RECORDS (1925-1935) . Excited to have access to such a wonderful finding-aid, I put Karl&146;s name in the search engine, and clicked on the search button. Instantly, it came back with a list of twelve men named Karl Pedersen, all whom immigrated between 1925 and 1929, organized by Surname, Given name, Age, Nationality and Year of Arrival.

I scanned the entries and ruled out each one, by age and nationality (there were only three Norwegians, which made it easier). However, by the time I got to the last entry, I knew this was the person I was looking for: Karl Sten PEDERSEN (my family had mistakenly thought his middle name was Sven, not Sten). I clicked on the entry and it provided me with all the information I needed to find the original source, including: Surname, Given name, Age, Sex, Nationality, Date of arrival, Port of arrival, Ship, Reference, Volume, Page and Microfilm reel. I printed off several copies of the entry. Then, I searched the immigration records by port in order to learn the correct title, and dates contained on the microfilm. On July 5, I took the printout with the information including, title of the film and film number to my local library, and I ordered the microfilm from the National Archives of Canada, through inter-library loan.

On September 19, I received a phone call from my library: The microfilm was now in. Since I already knew exactly what volume and page number the entry for Karl was located, I went directly to the page. It contained a wealth of information (the list of questions are located at the end of this article). I took a photocopy of the page. When I got home, I was able to peruse the passenger list page in more detail and one of the biggest surprises I found was: Karl PEDERSEN was travelling with a group of more than 30 men from Skien and Sarpsborg, Norway. Each of these men had $25.00 in pocket, their passage paid for by their respective community and all were destined for Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to work at the Canadian National Railway (CNR). Several questions come to mind: What happened in 1927, that the Canadian National Railway needed to recruit so many men from another country? Did the Canadian National Railway advertise employment opportunities in these communities? Did they recruit men from other communities in Norway?

Although I have made good progress with the information found in the Canadian passenger lists, I still have a long way to go to trace the life of Karl Pedersen. I have verified additional information on Karl and his parents, Jørgen and Gustava PEDERSEN, at the RIKSARKIVAREN &150; NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF NORWAY at in their DIGITALARKIVET (The Digital Archives): 1900-telling (Census) for Skien, Telemark, Norway.

If anyone is familiar with the history of the Canadian National Railway and their recruiting practices, or has any information regarding Karl Sten PEDERSEN or any of the people listed below, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me by e-mail at


Here is the list of men who were travelling to Canada on the same voyage as Karl Pedersen:

Microfilm Reel: T-14809
Reference: RG76 &150; Immigration, series C-1-b
Volume: 1927 volume 7, Page: 8
Ship: SS STAVANGERFJORD, Norwegian America Line
Sailed from: Oslo, Norway To: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Sailing dates: April 1, 1927 to April 11, 1927

Name, Age, Relationship, Name and Address of closest Relative (in Norway)
HJORT, Ludvig, 25, Father: Hans HJORTH, 1 Wesselsgate, Skien
HOLT, Arne, 23, Father: Nils HOLTH, Minde pr. Skien, Norway
HVIDSTEN, Agnar, 35, Mother: Lovise HVIDSTEN, 4 Lammersgate, Skien
JOHNSEN, Olaf, 20, Mother: Marie JOHNSEN, 4 Tomtegaten, Skien
KAASA JOHNSEN, Jørgen, 33, Father: John KAASA, 17 Oscarsgate, Skien
KRISTIANSEN, Trygve Hauff, 32, Father: Martin KRISTIANSEN, Graaten, Skien
LARSEN, Erling, 28, Mother: Thora LARSEN, 3 Jørgen Moesgate, Skien
LINDSTAD,Ole P., 28, Father: Jonas LINDSTAD, 1 Asbjørnsensgate, Skien
LØKEN, Hans, 27, Mother: Julie LØKEN, Graaten pr. Skien, Norway
NISTRE, Thorvald, 37, Sister: Gunhild NORBØ, 4 Klostergaten, Skien
OLAFSEN, Karl, 40, Wife: Inga OLAFSEN, Lagmandsgaardsveien, Gjerpen pr. Skien
OLSEN, Aksel Marinius, 38, Wife: Oline OLSEN, Bloms Minde, Skien
PEDERSEN, Karl Sten, 27, Father: Jørgen PEDERSEN, 24 Oscarsgate, Skien
PEDERSEN, Paulus Kristian, 24, Father: Karl Johan PEDERSEN, 10 Tomegaten, Skien
RUGSTAD, Thomas Olsen, 36, Father: Ole L. RUGSTAD, Rugstad pr. Solum, Skien
SANNES, Georg, 19, Father: Jørgen SANNES, Stabek, Norway
SKAATE, Anthon, 44, Wife: Birgit SKAATE, 1 Skallandsveien, Skien
THOMASSEN, Thomas, 19, Father: Ole THOMASSEN, 10 Lammersgaten, Skien
THOVSEN, Kristian, 27, Mother: Inga THOVSEN, 24 Bratsbergsgaten, Skien
EDELL, Anker Eugen, 19, Mother: Lydia CARLSEN, 27 Oscarsgate, Sarpsborg
FREDRIKSEN, Arnfinn, 21, Father: Fredrik OLSEN, 12 Hollebygaten, Sarpsborg
FINGARSEN, Kristian, 22, Father: Anders FINGARSON, Holmestrand, Norway
JONASSEN, Reider, 24, Mother: Thekla JONASSEN, 8 Jonas Liesgate, Sarpsborg
NILSEN, Haardn Selmer, 20, Mother: Anna PEDERSEN, 16 Tranesgate, Sarpsborg
NILSEN, Karl, 30, Mother: Justine NILSEN, 14 Søndre Kirkgate, Sarpsborg
OLSEN, Olaf, 19, Father: Henrik OLSEN, 13 Parkveien, Sarpsborg
PETTERSEN, Johannes, 22, Father: Johan PETTERSEN, 26 Tungbakken, Sarpsborg
WISTRØM, Ferdinand, 24, Father: Lars Johan WISTRØM, 27 Oscarsgate, Sarpsborg

CANADIAN GOVERNMENT RETURNS: 1927 Passenger List Questions

Here is the information contained within the 1927 Canadian Passenger lists:

Line Number
Family Name, Given Name
Age: Female
Age: Male
Status: [Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced]
Country and Place of Birth
Nationality: Country of Which a Citizen or Subject
Race or People
If In Canada Before: Between What Period
At What Address
Ever Refused Entry to or Deported from Canada?
Do you intend to reside permanently in Canada?
Can you Read?
What Language
By Whom was Passage paid
Line Number (repeat of #1)
Occupation: What Trade or Occupation did you follow in your own Country?
What Trade or Occupation do you intend to follow in Canada?
Destination: If destined to Relative, Friends or Employer, state which and Given name and full address. If not joining any person in Canada, give the address in Canada to which you are going.
Given Name, Relationship and Address of your nearest relative in the Country from which you came. If a wife or children are to follow you to Canada, give names and ages.
Have you or any of your family ever been: Mentally Defective
Physically Defective
Passport: Number, Place and Date of Issue
Money in Possession Belonging to Passenger
Travelling Inland On
Action Taken and Civil Examiner

Author: Annette Fulford, British Columbia, Canada


Hunting Passenger Lists -

 -  Chapter 1:   Emigration Records - Sources (By Børge Solem & Trond Austheim)
 -  Chapter 2:   Canadian Records (1865-1935) (by Sue Swiggum, Trond Austheim & Børge Solem)
 -  Chapter 3:   Searching the Canadian Immigration Records Database, (by Annette Fulford - 2002)
 -  Chapter 4:   US arrivals - Customs Passenger Lists (by Sue Swiggum, Trond Austheim & Børge Solem)
 -  Chapter 5:   Port of New York Passenger Records (By Jo Anne Sadler, 2003
 -  Chapter 6:   Norwegian Emigration Records (By Børge Solem)
 -  Chapter 7:   The British Board of Trade outbound passenger lists (By Debbie Beavis & Børge Solem)

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