United States Border Crossings from Canada to United States - FamilySearch Historical Records

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United States Border Crossings from Canada to United States, 1895-1956
CID1803785
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.

United States
United States flag.png
Flag of the United States of America
Flag of the United States (1891-1896).png
US Flag 1891-1896 (44 stars)
NARA logo circular black on white.jpg
National Archives and Records Administration Logo
Record Description
Record Type Emigration and Immigration
Record Group RG 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
Collection years 1894-1956
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?[edit | edit source]

This article describes multiple collections. The collections consist of indexes of aliens and citizens crossing into the United States from Canada through various ports of entry along the U.S.-Canadian border between 1895 and 1956.

Image Visibility[edit | edit source]

Whenever possible FamilySearch makes images and indexes available for all users. However, rights to view these data are limited by contract and subject to change. Because of this there may be limitations on where and how images and indexes are available or who can see them. Please be aware some collections consist only of partial information indexed from the records and do not contain any images.

For additional information about image restrictions see Restrictions for Viewing Images in FamilySearch Historical Record Collections.

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

The following information may be found in these records:

Border Crossing

  • Name
  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Birth country
  • Gender
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Ship name
  • Departure contact
  • Arrival contact

Collection Content[edit | edit source]

Coverage Table[edit | edit source]

In many cases, the index cards are the only record of the crossing.

Title of Collection NARA Microfilm (# Rolls) FHL (Starting Roll#) Type Special Conditions
Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924 M1461 (400 rolls. Missing roll 218) 1472801 Index Soundex name index to entries at ports along the border and Great Lakes. Includes
• ALL manifest lists from 1895-1917.
• After June 1917, includes only arrivals east of North Dakota-Montana state line. Anyone entering west of this state line after 1917 was filed in Seattle.
• 1915 to 1924 indexes cover ports east of Buffalo, New York only.
In most cases, an original manifest exists. Some index cards are the only record of crossing, with no original manifest.
Alphabetical Index to Canadian Border Entries through Small Ports in Vermont, 1895-1924 M1462 (6 rolls) 1430987 Index Arranged alphabetically by ports of entry, all in Vermont. Especially useful for identifying Canadians who settled in the New England area.
Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952 M1463 (98 rolls) 1570714 Index Includes border crossings in New York and Vermont area.
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954 M1464 (640 rolls) 1561087 Original manifests Manifests indexed by the above Soundex indexes. These forms were completed when the immigrant entered the U.S. through a border port station. Most European immigrants will be found in these lists.
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949 M1465 (25 rolls) 1549387 Original manifests Supplement to the above manifests. These manifests list travelers to the United States from Canadian Pacific seaports only.
Card Manifests (Alphabetical) of Individuals Entering through the Port of Detroit, Michigan, 1906-1954 M1478, M1479 (140 rolls) 1490449 Original card manifests Original card manifests, arranged alphabetically, for Michigan ports of entry only: Bay City, Detroit, Port Huron, Sault Sainte Marie (117 rolls).
An additional 23 rolls Include passenger and alien crew lists of vessels arriving in Detroit, 1946 to 1957.

Manifests for Pacific and Atlantic ports provide two types of lists: the traditional passenger lists on U.S. immigration forms and monthly lists of names of aliens crossing the border on trains. These monthly lists are arranged by month, then alphabetically by name of port, and then by railway.

A variety of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) forms were used to record information about individuals entering the United States. Types of forms used included: Primary Inspection Memorandum; Manifest; Record of Registry; and Land Border Departure Record. Due to the variety of forms, the amount of information available for an individual in this database will vary according to the form used and the questions asked on it.

How Do I Search This Collection?[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • The residence of your ancestor
  • The age of your ancestor
  • The estimated immigration year
  • The names of other family members

Search the Index[edit | edit source]

Search by name by visiting the Collection Details Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes in the Search Collection section with the information you know
  2. Click Search to show possible matches

Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned

How Do I Analyze the Results?[edit | edit source]

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?[edit | edit source]

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Add any new information to your records
  • Continue to search the index and records to identify other relatives
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct
  • You may need to compare the information of more than one family or person to make this determination
  • Be aware that, as with any index, transcription errors may occur

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?[edit | edit source]

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names
  • Search the records of port cities along the border
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor

Research Helps[edit | edit source]

The following articles will help you in your research for your family in the United States.

Citing This Collection[edit | edit source]

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation can be viewed by clicking the drop-down arrow next to Document Information.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?[edit | edit source]

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