Apparently The Generations Network (TGN, Ancestry.com, .ca, etc.) and Library and Archives Canada (LAC) will be launching the Ancestry indexes to Canadian passenger lists from 1865-1935 on September 16, 2008 in Toronto. Some 5.5 million names!
Thanks to Olive Tree Genealogy for this heads-up - there doesn't seem to be any news yet on LAC's website or elsewhere.
These indexes will be available on Ancestry (TGN) by subscription, but remember to check with your local library system to see if that's offered at a library for free somewhere near you.
There are various Canadian indexes already (not all on-line), and images of passenger lists from 1865 to 1922 are on-line at LAC's website. See below for a link directly to LAC's Canadian Genealogy Centre's information guide to passenger lists.
If you're in or close to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the launch is 16th September 2008, 10:30 am at the "Toronto Archives Building at 255 Spadina Road" - that would be at the City of Toronto Archives ? (Why I wonder?)
If this were 'after 1935', it would be a bit more exciting to me, but of course, it will be very useful, particularly for the earliest years. Ancestry's indexes and searches, if not always accurate, are usually flexible, although other recent passenger indexes for Great Britain and Europe have really already opened up many of the Canadian passenger lists to researchers.
Looking at passenger lists - from both departure and entry - may give you much more information. Don't stop with one name found in a Canadian entry index - see the actual record, have a look right through it, then search to see if there is a corresponding record in the port of departure.
If your family might have come through Hamburg, see the newer 'Port of Dreams: Ballinstadt' website. (See a link below - this isn't yet mentioned on LAC's web pages.)
And also, keep an eye on Stephen Morse - he is almost sure to have a 'one-step' for this new index very quickly. His search facility does make locating index entries by surname easier.
Now - I have to ask - what did LAC, and thus, we Canadian researchers (and taxpayers), get out of this passenger list index "partnership" between LAC and TGN? Will all the passenger records for this period soon be available free on LAC's website?
Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, Canadian Genealogy Centre (LAC): http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-908.003-e.html
Port of Dreams - Ballinstadt Emigrant World, Hamburg , : http://www.ballinstadt.de/index.php
One-step webpages, Stephen Morse: http://stevemorse.org/
For the full announcement, see:
COMING SOON! fully indexed Canadian Ships Passenger Lists, 1865-1935, Olive Tree Genealogy