Thursday, October 15, 2015

US Canadian Border Crossing Records

Recently I spoke about border crossing records to ........... here lies the problem! I can't remember where I was!! haha I've spoken at numerous conferences this Fall, as well as to my own students during two courses. So I thought this was the best way to get the word out - to everyone!!

And don't tune out when you read this first title [Vermont, St. Albans Canadian Border Crossings, 1895 - 1954].

BACKGROUND [from familysearch wiki]

From 1895 through 1954, records were kept of many people who crossed the border from Canada into the United States. The records are mostly for people who:

Were immigrating into the United States.
Were visiting the country.
Were United States citizens returning to the United States.

The border crossings records from Canada to the United States began in 1895. They include people coming in ships and trains through Canada to the United States either for a visit or to stay. People who crossed the border in any other way, such as by horse or car, are not in the records.

Lists of passengers crossing the Canadian border to the United States were collected into this record: Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District. In spite of the title, this collection includes records from all over Canada and the northern United States (not just St. Albans). These are the records of U.S. immigration officials who inspected travelers at the following places:

From 1895 to 1914, at all Canadian seaports and train arrival stations from Washington state to Maine (including major interior cities such as Quebec, Winnipeg, etc.). Officials used shipping company passenger lists (manifests) to determine passengers bound for the United States via Canada.

From 1915 to 1954, border crossing records were only kept at train arrival stations along the northern borders of New York and Vermont.

The information you find varies from record to record. These records may include:

Port or station of entry.
Date of entry.
Last residence.
Name of nearest relative at last residence.
Previous visits to United States.
Place of birth.

Search the index For those with subscriptions to Ancestry, they also have these records on a database. I would certainly search both as there could be differences.

Border Crossing Records - from US into Canada - 1908 to 1935 are also on a database at Ancestry.
Historical Background: [from Ancestry]

In April 1908, the Canadian government began recording the names of immigrants crossing into the country from the U.S. These records are the official immigration records for Canada as no other immigration records exist.

From 1908-1918, the government used border entry lists to record information about individuals coming into the country. From 1919-1924, Form 30 (individual form) was used in place of the border entry lists to record similar information. In 1925 border entry lists came into use again.

Not all immigrants coming into Canada were registered. Some people may have entered the country through non-port cities or when ports were closed. Also, if at least one parent in a family was born in Canada or previously resided there, then the whole family was considered as returning citizens instead of immigrants, and were therefore not recorded.

I love to hear of your successes. Email me or post to 'Comments' directly below this post.


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