United States Border Crossings from Mexico to United States (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

This database contains an index of aliens and some citizens crossing into the U.S. from Mexico via various ports of entry along the U.S./Mexican border between 1903 and 1957.

Many of the records are arranged alphabetically. Others are arranged chronologically, then by manifest number. Chronologically-arranged records usually have a related alphabetical index. Alphabetically-arranged records are filed by surname, then by first name, subject to special rules. Double names are filed as if the second part of the double name was not there. For example, Jimenez De San Miguel, Petra, is filed among other persons named Jimenez, Petra. Castro, Maria de los Angeles, is filed among other persons named Castro, Maria. Montalvo-Hernandez, Jose, is filed among other persons named Montalvo, Jose. Surnames like De La Huerta are filed under Huerta.

Separate cards or “card manifests” for each person were used at the ports of entry along the Mexican border. These cards contained the same information as was collected on traditional ship passenger arrival lists, such as full name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, point of arrival in the United States, and final destination. 

As would be expected, Mexican nationals comprised the vast majority of alien arrivals at the U.S./Mexico land border. However, Europeans also entered the U.S. through these ports, as well aliens from elsewhere in the world. For example, Syrians and large numbers of Japanese entered at Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1906 and 1907. Japanese, Turkish, Syrian, Guatemalan, and Korean citizens, in addition to many Europeans, entered at Laredo, Texas, 1903-1907. Citizens of Japan, Palestine, Syria, Canada, and the Philippine Islands are among those who entered at Brownsville, Texas. A scattering of U.S. citizen arrivals are also found in these records. 

This collection contains an index of people crossing from Mexico into the United States via various ports of entry along the USA-Mexican border, between the years 1903 and 1957. 

This database was created to facilitate the research of ancestors who crossed the Mexican border. The original customs records were maintained primarily for statistical purposes.

This index, taken from the card manifests, is a reliable source for finding ancestors who crossed the Mexican border and entered into the United States between 1903 and 1957.


Record Content

Information found on the Ancestry’s Mexican border crossing database includes:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Birth date
  • Birthplace
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity or nationality
  • Port of arrival
  • Arrival date

The short forms (index cards) usually contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Citizenship ("nationality")
  • Race
  • Last place of residence
  • Destination
  • Port and date of admission
  • Status as immigrant or non immigrant. The number annotated to the right of the person's name or gender is generally the "real" manifest number that is used, along with the date of arrival, to locate the person's statistical manifest--which contains additional information--in a separate series of card manifests. Sometimes, information was simply typewritten onto a blank card instead of a form.

The manifest usually contains the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth
  • Physical description
  • Occupation
  • Ability to read and write and in what language
  • Place of last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Purpose for entering U.S.
  • Intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or of returning to country of previous residence
  • Head tax status
  • Previous citizenship
  • Name and address of the friend or relative whom the alien intended to join
  • Persons accompanying the alien
  • Name and address of the alien's nearest relative or friend in the country from which he or she came
  • If the alien had ever been in the U.S. in the past, the dates and places of such residence or visitation are indicated.

How to Use the Record

Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

The database is an index in alphabetical order. There are two types of cards that can be found. One is an short form (index card). These short forms, while valuable, do not contain as much information as can be found on the manifest. If you find a short form (index card) for your ancestor, be sure to try to locate the longer manifest form. Usually the information found in these records will identify the place and date of birth of the ancestor which allow for further research in the records of that place.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.

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Contributions to This Article

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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from the record, you should list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you do not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.


Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the information published in FamilySearch.org Historical Record collections. Sources include the author, custodian, publisher and archive for the original records.


"United States, Border Crossings From Mexico to United States, 1903-1957." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing " Border Crossings: From Mexico to U.S., 1895-1957." Ancestry.com. www.ancestry.com : 2006.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 3 June 2014, at 21:05.
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