Find your ancestors in United States, Canadian border crossings

What can these records tell me?

This collection contains both transcripts and images of indexes and passenger manifests from the Canadian border entries into the United States through St. Albans, Vermont, between 1895 and 1954. Passage to Canada was generally less expensive than travelling directly to the United States. If you have been unable to discover how your ancestors made it into the United States, it may be that they came in through Canada.

Depending on the type of document, you may be able to discover the following information:


  • First name(s)
  • Last name
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Birth year
  • Birth state and country
  • Event year and date
  • State
  • Country
  • Source


Images will often provide additional details. Some forms include two pages. Use the arrows on the right side of the image viewer to see all fields related to your ancestor. Depending on the form used, you may be able to learn the following details:

  • Marital status
  • Calling or occupation
  • Literacy and language
  • Nationality
  • Race or people
  • Birth city or town
  • Immigration number and where and when issued
  • Address in United States
  • Last permanent residence (city and country)
  • The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came – here you may be able to learn the name of your ancestor’s parent, spouse, or sibling.
  • Final destination in the United States
  • Ship name and departure and arriving port
  • Who paid passage
  • Whether in possession of $50, and if less, how much?
  • If previously in the United States, when and where?
  • If joining a relative or friend, the name and address of such individual
  • Purpose of coming to the United States
  • Whether ever in prison, a polygamist, or an anarchist
  • Condition of health, mental and physical
  • Deformed or crippled – nature, length of time, and cause
  • Height, in feet and inches
  • Complexion
  • Color of hair and eyes
  • Marks of identification

Please note that for some, only a family name was recorded. You may also see names crossed off the passenger manifest with a note that the individual did not embark.

Discover more about these records

United States, Canadian Border Crossings comprises four collections from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which includes both indexes and passenger manifests of entries from Canada into the United States through St Albans, Vermont, between 1895 and 1954. The collections are as follows:

  • Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District,1895-1924, M1461
  • Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports,1924-1952, M1463
  • Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports,1895-1954, M1464
  • Manifest of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949, M1465

The passenger manifests from those passing into the United States from Canadian ports will include details about the ship they traveled on (ship name, port of departure, and port of arrival). A surgeon’s affidavit was required by immigration in such cases, declaring that all immigrants aboard could safely enter the country. In creating such an affidavit, the surgeon would examine both the physical and mental states of each immigrant aboard: 'Under the authority of sections 12 and 13 of the act of Congress of February 5, 1917, it is hereby directed that on the arrival of a ship bringing passengers from a foreign port to any port of the United States the ship’s surgeon or, if no surgeon, the master shall deliver in person to the United States Immigration and Naturalization officer in charge, or his authorized representative, a complete report […] with respect to all alien passengers, of all injuries, diseases, and illnesses, and births and deaths developing or occurring during the voyage'.