US Immigration Canadian Border Crossings

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

Canadian Border Crossings: Canada to the United States[edit | edit source]

St. Albans, Vermont District Records[edit | edit source]

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 records include people coming in ships and trains. 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 were collected into "Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District', 1895-1954." 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.

Content of the Records[edit | edit source]

Canada Border crossing.png

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

  • Name, age, gender.
  • Place of birth.
  • Who they are traveling with.
  • Name, relationship, and address of relative or friend they are joining.
  • Last residence.
  • Name of nearest relative at last residence.
  • Previous visits to United States.
  • Date of entry.
  • Literacy.
  • Port or station of entry.

Detroit Records[edit | edit source]

This database is an index to card manifests of aliens crossing from Canada and entering the U.S. through the port of Detroit, Michigan from 1905 to 1954. It also includes passenger and alien crew lists of vessels arriving at the port of Detroit, Michigan, from 1946 to 1963.

Content of the Records[edit | edit source]

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. The type of information that is generally contained in this database though, includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity/nationality
  • Last residence
  • Vessel or airline name
  • Port of departure
  • Port of arrival
  • Date of arrival

Canadian Border Crossings: United States to Canada[edit | edit source]

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.

Content of the Records[edit | edit source]

The amount of information recorded in these records varies according to form type and year. Below is a list of the type information you may find in these records. Please keep in mind that not all of this information will be available on every form. Additionally, there may be other information provided that is not listed below.[1]

  • Port of arrival
  • Date of arrival
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Country of citizenship
  • Birthplace
  • Last permanent address
  • Marital status
  • Spouse name
  • Race or people
  • Purpose in coming to Canada
  • Occupation
  • Language
  • Religion
  • Destination
  • Health questions
  • Physical description

Canada border crossing US to Canafa.png

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Canada, Border Crossings from U.S. to Canada, 1908-1935", at Ancestry,, accessed 14 August 2021.