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(Canada) Reports of Admissions and Rejections

Jan Meisels Allen
 

 

                                            


Canada has copies of their Admissions and Rejections Reports, they are accessible on the Canadian (Ancestry.ca) or worldwide version of Ancestry. Yes, Ancestry is a paid service, but for those in Canada many of the public libraries have the Canadian version, and Family Search Centers have it available in their centers, and in the US many public libraries also have subscriptions available. I am not knowledgeable if libraries in the UK, Europe, Australia or elsewhere also have the worldwide version available.

 

Manifests for 1908-35 are available at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) on microfilm and partially online.  This is a fascinating database for historians of Canadian migration and border control.  According to an article in Active history.ca  The Reports of Admissions and Rejections are broadsheet manifests on which immigration agents recorded details about each non-Canadian who appeared at border checkpoints, seeking to enter the country.  Information on each person, including name, age, sex, relationship of groups of travelers to one another, place of birth, nationality,” race or people”, language, religion, occupation in home country, intended occupation in Canada, destination, amount of money in possession, and mode of transportation.

 

The final column of the broadsheets (manifests)  indicates whether a traveler was admitted or rejected, the reason for rejection (i.e. a citation of the law or laws precluding admission), whether or not the decision was appealed, and the name or initials of the presiding officer.

 

An interesting story in told in the article, http://activehistory.ca/2019/11/rejected-border-crossing-records-and-histories-of-exclusion/ about a young Jewish Russian émigré living in New York, taking her two American-born sons on the train to Toronto to visit the Canadian wing of her family, Jewish émigrés from Russia.  When the train crossed the Niagara River from Buffalo and ground to a halt at the Canadian immigration checkpoint at Bridgeburg, the immigration agent declared that she and her boys would not be permitted to enter Canada.  Since she had been born in Russia and was not a naturalized United States citizen, in order to enter Canada legally she would need to travel directly from Russia. It did not matter that the two children were American born or that she had adequate funds for the time they would visit Canada.

 

The “law” denying entry was not only from the United States but also from Europe. The regulation was not applied to Americans or British subjects from the white dominions, who were excepted by P.C. 1923-183.  P.C. 23 refers to Order-in-Council 1914-23 a modified version of the continuous journey regulation issued after a judge deemed an older law invalid. While the regulation was used predominately to restrict Asian immigration, it stated that travelers seeking to enter Canada must have taken a “continuous journey” from their country of origin or citizenship.

 

It is worth reading the article by Edward Dunsworth as he has done considerable research on these records especially if you are researching tobacco growers from the US.  To read the article go to:

http://activehistory.ca/2019/11/rejected-border-crossing-records-and-histories-of-exclusion/

 

 

Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee