Re: Land Manifests to New York from Canada in 1905 #general

Hilary Henkin <hilary@...>

Dear group,
I confess to posting my reply without doing any immediate research, hence
my misspelling of "St. Albans". I was tired and it was late, but I wanted
to provide some guidance to the original researcher. My experience has
been that many people are aware of the St. Albans lists, but far fewer are
aware that lists for other border crossings exist, and may contain useful

I have now done a bit of research:
Peter is correct in stating that the St. Albans Lists contain records >from
far more than Vermont and Maine. According to
(which contains a fascinating history of Canada-US immigration), once the
US began recording people coming into the US via Canada in 1895, the
records >from several Canada/US border cities were gathered annually and
sent to United States INS offices in Montreal. At some point in time, that
office was moved >from Montreal to St. Albans, Vermont, along with the
records. When the records were later sent to the National Archives for
preservation and storage, they came >from St. Albans, hence the name.

The above article implies that absolutely all Canadian/US border crossing
records were sent to Montreal, then to St. Albans. I have not found this
to be the case.

When I began researching my family history in 1998, I knew that my
grandfather, his brothers, sister, and mother had immigrated to Toronto,
where he married my grandmother and had their first son. His entire family
later moved to Los Angeles. I checked the St. Albans lists for records of
their US arrivals, without success. Years later I came across a reference
to Detroit Border Crossing lists. I was finally successful, and found the
records of my grandfather's entire family immigrating to the US in 1916 -

Some of my grandMother's family stayed in Toronto. I knew one relative had
built a business in Buffalo and the husband had died there, so they must
have traveled into the US at some point. I found no record of them in
either the St. Albans Lists nor the Detroit lists. Although I began my
research in 1998, it wasn't until 2002 that I learned other lists even
existed, including the records for Buffalo and Niagara Falls. At the
Washington DC conference, I checked these microfilms, and found over a
dozen records! Some relatives entered to visit the Buffalo business, my
grandfather came looking for a job only two years after he'd immigrated (I
learned the exact date and ship he'd arrived on!), some entered to work,
some to visit previously-unknown relatives in NYC.

I'd hoped to convey the thought that if you've checked the St. Albans lists
without success; - if the dates are valid for you, check the other
lists. Peter is incorrect in stating that the other lists are earlier than
the St Albans list and focus on water arrivals. While the St. Albans lists
do cover the longest period, >from 1895 to 1952, the Buffalo/Niagara
Falls/Rochester list dates >from 1902 until 1954; the Detroit list dates
from 1906 to 1957, both with most arrivals by railroad. Most of the other
small lists seem to date >from 1929 to 1952. There are also separate lists
for some Alaska, other Maine, and other Vermont arrivals.

Prior to 1895, no records were kept or created for people coming into the
US >from Canada.

I hope this clarifies some details --.

Hilary Henkin
Atlanta, Georgia

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