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

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

Collection Time Period

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.

Record History

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.

Why This Collection Was Created

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

Record Reliability

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

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.

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found on the Ancestry’s Mexican border crossing database:
• Name
• Age
• Birth date
• Birthplace
• Gender
• Ethnicity or nationality
• Port of arrival
• Arrival date

Key genealogical facts found on most Mexican border crossing original card manifests:
• Full name
• The person’s marital status
• Place of birth
• Physical description
• Occupation
• Ability to read and write and in what language
• Place of last permanent residence
• The purpose for entering the U.S. and the destination
• Intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or of returning to the country of previous residence
• Head tax status and previous citizenships
• Name and address of the friend or relative whom the alien intended to join
• Persons accompanying the alien
• The name and address of the alien’s nearest relative or friend in the country from which he or she came

How to Use the Record

The database is an index in alphabetical order.

Related Wiki Articles

US Immigration Mexican Border Crossings

Related Websites

NARA: Mexican Border Crossing Records

Ancestry.com: Border Crossings from Mexico to U.S., 1903-1957

Sources of This Collection

This is a digital index from Ancestry from a collection of original records housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in College Park, Maryland.

How to Cite Your Sources

Instructions for citing this source can be found at: Cite Your Sources (Source Footnotes) (Normal heading with italics)