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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian:Immigration Records by Patricia McGregor, PLCGS. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).
Border Crossings and Immigration Policy (Continued)
1925-1935 The use of border lists was reinstated in 1925. For each month the records for all ports are filed together. These records contain the following additional details:
Immigrant’s place of birth name and address of the relative, friend or employer to whom they were destined; and name and address of the nearest relative in the country they came from
The finding aid for the microfilm reels for 1925-1935 border entries is available at the following LAC webpage: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/genealogy/022-908.005.02-e.html.
LAC has a series of old nominal indexes for the 1925 to 1935 records. Since the indexes include post-1935 entries, which are closed under the Privacy Act, the public cannot consult them. However, in cooperation with the Library and Archives Canada, the Pier 21 Society in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has input the information from the passenger list indexes into a database. Also included are border entries for individuals whose surname starts with the letter C. Use the following link to access the searchable database: http://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/immigration-1925/index-e.html.
Consult the following LAC page for information on records after 1935: http://www.collectionscanada.ca/genealogy/022-908.007-e.html.
Here’s a ‘Tip Sheet’ to help keep it all straight: Land and Inland Waterway Arrivals Date Type of record Notes 1908-1918 Lists of arrivals by ‘port’ of entry Microfilmed, but no nominal indexes; Entries listed by port and date Indexed and available at Ancestry.ca with link to the LAC image
Accessible by paid subscription
1919-1924 Form 30 - separate form for each individual Microfilmed in quasi alphabetical order (see finding aid); Filmed in reverse order (reverse side of form first) 1925-1935 The use of border lists reinstated Microfilmed, for each month records for all ports filed together; indexed, with surnames beginning with ‘C’ online. All other indexes are closed because they contain post 1935 records. Searches have to be completed by LAC staff. After 1935 Remain in custody of Citizenship and Immigration Canada Must complete Access to Information Request
Crossing into the U.S. — “St Albans Lists” Over the years there were periods of time when the price of passage to Canadian ports was cheaper than that to the United States. When the American government began to impose stricter immigration rules at its own ports, it became more attractive for some immigrants planning on settling in the U.S. to come to Canada and make their way overland to the States. By the 1890s even some of the steamship companies were suggesting to immigrants that travel to the United States via Canada was a viable option for those wanting to avoid U.S. inspectors. This evasion forced the U.S. to forge an agreement with Canadian railroads and steamship lines under which they would treat all U.S. bound passengers as if they would be landing at a U.S. port of entry. The U.S. Immigration Service stationed immigration inspectors at Canadian seaports and at northern land border entry points.
“At land border ports, inspectors also prepared another manifest (Form 1 - Canada) Similar to a ship passenger manifest, the form was titled: “List or Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States from Foreign Contiguous Territory”. This border port manifest often relates to immigrants who had been in Canada for months or years and applied for admission to the United States at a land border port. Before October 1, 1906, the records include only those immigrants born outside of Canada. Beginning on that date the records include Canadian-born immigrants.” (Smith 2000, 1)
The United States kept records of those crossing into that country. Although collectively these records are known as “St. Albans Border Crossings” this is misleading as they contain many other ports of entry. St. Albans was in Vermont and both Canadian and American immigration offices were established there. The original records are held at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington D.C. These lists can also be ordered through your local FamilySearch Centre.
FH Library Listing: St. Albans District manifest records of aliens arriving from foreign contiguous territory: records of arrivals through small ports in Vermont, 1895-1924
On 6 reels of microfilm, starting with FHL US/CAN Film 1430987
Consult the Family History Library for more details.
Do a place search for Vermont, and then select Emigration and Immigration from the list. Select the St Albans title and the select “view film notes” for the film details.
Those with ancestors who passed through Canada on their way to the United States in the late 19th or early 20th century would be advised to read Marian Smith’s article titled, By Way of Canada: U.S. Records of Immigration Across the U.S.-Canadian Border, 1895-1954 (St. Alban’s Lists). This article is available online at: http://www.archives.gov/public ations/prologue/2000/fall/us-canada-immigration-records-1.html.
Library and Archives Canada does not hold records on crossings into the U.S.
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Canadian: Immigration Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.