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Everything You Need to Know about United States Border Crossing Records

United States Border Crossing Records


If you have immigrant ancestors who entered the United States through Canada or Mexico—or even had ancestors who lived near the border—you might find them in collections of U.S. border crossing records.

Immigration records of arrivals at the Canadian border began in 1895 and at the Mexican border in 1906. Initially, card manifests for each person were used to record information about arrivals in the United States across land. These cards contained information similar to the information found on a passenger list.

If you have had difficulty finding your immigrant ancestors arrival in a U.S. port, it may be because they sailed to Mexico or Canada and entered the U.S. over land.