Family History – Passenger Lists – Canterbury

If your ancestor came to Canterbury

The 'first six' ships

A reception on board the Randolph, East India Export Dock, Blackhall
A reception on board the Randolph, East India Export Dock, Blackhall [1850]
The First four ships of the Canterbury Association’s immigration scheme
Charlotte Jane; Cressy; Randolph; Sir George Seymour. These papers have been photocopied from the originals held in the Archives Department of Canterbury Museum for use as a resource for school pupils. Each book contains a list of passengers, their age, marital status, occupation and type and cost of passage.
Amodeo, C. The summer ships
Includes passenger lists for the first six ships: Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour, Cressy, Castle Eden, Isabella Hercus.
Hercus, J. Isabella Hercus
Includes passenger lists for her first (Oct 1850-Mar 1851) and second (1856) voyages, giving passengers' names, ages, nationalities and occupations.

Other ships to Lyttelton

A guide to passenger lists held in the New Zealand Collection
This has an introduction detailing the government institutions in charge of immigration. It lists immigrant ships to Lyttelton and gives dates where passengers lists appear in 1850s-1870s newspapers. Also included are references to books which have lists of people who arrived in ports other than Lyttelton.
Immigrant ships to Canterbury 1853-1885
This is a list of ships that arrived in Canterbury.
Part 1: Alphabetical list
Part 2: Chronological list. Numbers of passengers carried are given. No other passenger information is included.
Canterbury Association. Emigration to Canterbury: shipping lists
These lists cover 1856-1874. The list of ships involved is provided in the catalogue. Most of these lists have been digitised and are available online.
Rathgen, D. Lyttelton shipping list, 1890-1891
This lists all the international and coastal ships that arrived at Lyttelton 1890-1891 as reported by The Press, Christchurch. The captains are listed in alphabetical order. There is no passenger information.

If the ship’s name is unknown

New Zealand Shipping Company's Hurunui, the first ship to enter the new graving dock at Lyttelton, Jan. 1883
New Zealand Shipping Company's Hurunui, the first ship to enter the new graving dock at Lyttelton, Jan. 1883

Start with:

General biographical index

Then try:

Pre-Adamite card file (2 drawers)
This lists the Canterbury settlers who were here before 16 December 1850 i.e. before the First Four Ships. For a list of French and German people who came to Akaroa, 1845-1850 (mostly on board the Comte de Paris ), see P. Tremewan, French Akaroa: an attempt to colonise southern New Zealand. Christchurch, 1990, appendix 1, pp. 307-315.
Shipping lists by passenger card file 1850-1852 (2 drawers)
People who came on Canterbury Association ships 1850-1852, listed alphabetically by surname. There are alphabetical and chronological lists of the ships included on cards at the beginning of the first drawer. Ships included are: Bangalore; Canterbury; Castle Eden; Charlotte Jane; Cornwall; Cressy; Dominion; Duke of Bronte; Duke of Portland; Isabella Hercus; Labuan; Lady Nugent; Midlothian; Randolph; Sir George Pollock; Sir George Seymour; Stag; Steadfast; Travancore; William Hyde.
Further information on these passengers, as well as passengers from the Minerva and Tasmania (1853), is available in Canterbury Old Colonists' Committee. Canterbury jubilee celebrations: [Passenger lists of Canterbury Association ships arriving before 15 March 1853, two volumes completed just before 1900 and are based on personal memories. They show the name of each passenger, address in 1900, or date of death (if known). One of the books is annotated with additional names. Also included are some ships that did not belong to the Canterbury Association.
Shipping lists by passenger 1856-1874 (4 drawers)
Includes the names of passengers, with ages, country of origin and occupation for these ships only: Ambrosine; Atrato; Blue Jacket; Bombay; Brothers' Pride; Cameo; Caroline Coventry; Cashmere; Chariot of Fame; Charlotte Gladstone; Chrysolite; Clontarf; David G Fleming; Dover Castle; Glenmark (1865); Glenmark (1867); Himalaya; Hydaspes/Victory; Indiana; Isabella Hercus; Light Brigade; Mary Anne; Matoaka; Mermaid; Merope; Mersey; Mystery; Ramsay; Rhea Sylvia; Robert Small; Royal Stuart; Sebastopol; Strathallan; Tiptree; Tudor; Victoria; Victory; William Miles; Zealandia; Egmont.
For greater financial details of passengers look at Canterbury Association, Emigration to Canterbury: shipping lists.

Other sources which might help:

Morris, H. New Zealand assisted passenger list 1855-1871
This is a list of assisted passengers to Canterbury 1855-71. Families are listed alphabetically with their associated ship. Ships that came into Lyttelton and sometimes Timaru are included.
The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Vol 3, Canterbury provincial district
The biographies sometimes mention which ship the person arrived on. Volumes of the Cyclopedia for other provinces may tell which ship brought ancestors to New Zealand if they landed outside Canterbury.
G. R. Macdonald dictionary of biographies
Search for entries online at the Canterbury Museum website. Christchuch City Libraries holds the index only. The biographies sometimes mention the ship a person arrived on.
Port Lyttelton, showing Cressy just arriving, 27 December 1850 [1850]
Port Lyttelton, showing Cressy just arriving, 27 December 1850 [1850]

General sources on immigration to Canterbury

Greenaway, R. Henry Selfe Selfe and the origin and early development of Canterbury
Includes chapters on provincial immigration (1850s) and on shipping immigrant crises.
Macdonald, C. A woman of good character
Based on the author’s PhD thesis, which the library also holds. Appendix 1 (pp. 194-205) has a list of ships that carried provincial government immigrants to Canterbury, 1853-1871. Entries contain the following information: ship’s name and date of arrival at Lyttelton, port of departure, length of voyage and full cost of steerage passage; number travelling in single women’s compartment and total number of government immigrants (including single women) - counted as 'souls', i.e. individuals, rather than 'statute adults'; matron; location of passenger list in Christchurch where known.
Appendix 2 (p 206-208) lists women for whom information about children has been traced.
O'Regan. P. The control of immigration into Canterbury during the period 1853-1870
Schwarz, C. J. The female emigrants of the Canterbury Association and their role in Wakefield’s theory of systematic colonization
Identifies and investigates the female emigrants who came to Canterbury on board ships chartered by the Canterbury Association, 1850-1852. Appendix IV (pp 155-173) lists these passengers, along with their age, status and whether they were cabin or steerage passengers. Ships covered are: Charlotte Jane; Randolph; Cressy; Sir George Seymour; Castle Eden; Isabella Hercus; Travancore; Duke of Bronte; Steadfast; Labuan; Bangalore; Dominion; Lady Nugent; Duke of Portland; Midlothian; Canterbury; Sir George Pollock; Cornwall; Fatima; William Hyde; Stag; Samarang
Silcock, R. H. Immigration into Canterbury under the Provincial government
Covers the period 1864-76 and has some description of life on board particular ships.
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