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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

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