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Monday, March 21, 2011

Border Crossings Between USA & Canada - What Exists

Lorene asked a question about Border Crossings between Canada and USA
My question is Boarder crossings Canada to Michigan, USA.My Great-Gr Father Robert R. Fields Born in Canada abt 1848 [were abts unknown] Crossed over Lake Erie to Michigan and married Laura Normandy Morse on Nov 21,1872 Macomb County, Michigan, USA. After fathering 5 Children he left Michigan with out his Family and crossed back to Canada. Last child born was 1882. Question would he need some sort of ID ? Boarder Crossing or Passport? If so were would you suggest to search.

Lorene, the short answer is "NO". In April 1908, the Canadian government began recording the names of immigrants crossing into the country from the U.S. Border Crossing Records from U.S. to Canada exiat for these years. From Canada to U.S. Border Crossing Records exist for the years 1895-1956.

The Border Crossing Records are found on

Sadly you are out of luck as no form of ID was required before those years. It was an open border and folks crossed over as they wished.

However since your ancestor was born about 1848 in "Canada" you can search for him in the 1851 census. A word of caution - Canada is the second largest country in the world. You MUST find out a more specific place of birth - a province at the very minimum or you will not be able to find him.

What do census records say for his birth place? Canada English? Canada French? Upper Canada? (UC) Lower Canada? (LC) Canada West? (CW) Canada East? (CE) These are all indicators of provinces.

Quebec = CE, LC, usually Canada French
Ontario = CW, UC, usually Canada English

Friday, March 18, 2011

FInding an Ancestor on a Canadian Ships Passenger List after 1865

William asked about a Canadian Ships Passenger List

I am searching for the name of the passenger ship on which my mother Maria Drobka and her companion Demiyr Hryhirczuk both of Bulovina Ukraine departed from Hamburg, Bremen or Antwerp and arrived in a Canadian port of Halifax, St.John or Montreal in 1907.

Hi William - You are in luck because incoming Canadian Ships Passenger Lists have been indexed and are online at

They are also online at Library & Archives Canada but they are not indexed on that site so you would have to search page by page for your ancestor's name.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Abbreviations in Dutch Genealogy Records Defined

Virginia asked a very good question about genealogy abbreviations.

Reading your lineage of the Post family and the Pane-Joyce Genealogy for the same family I find the abbreviations "ym" and "yd" that do not seem to mean "year married" or "year died". What do these mean? I am new to finding my family's history and haven't found where these abbreviations are defined. Thank you for taking the time to help this "newbie".

Virginia - Excellent question. I neglected to give a link to where these Dutch church abbreviations are explained.

Please see Translations of Words in Dutch Church Records for y.m, y.d and other commonly used abbreviations