There are more than 160,000 records in this collection documenting people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border in upstate New York, and each includes a transcript and an image of the original document. While the information for each person may vary, New York, Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester arrivals, 1902-1954 usually provides:
The cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, along Lake Erie, and Rochester, along Lake Ontario, are importantly positioned, not just for moving between the United States and Canada but for those moving between the Atlantic coastline and the interior of the continent. As a result, many of the individuals represented in these records entered the United States through these lake port cities, either by sea or land crossings. In addition to these cities, this collection also includes other arrivals in other New York cities along Lake Ontario and the Saint Lawrence River like Lewiston, Hogansburg, Malone, Morristown, Nyando, Ogdensburg, Rooseveltown, and Waddington.
Explore these records and discover the various routes your ancestors took to enter the United States. The details you learn will help you to continue your genealogical research in our other collections of New York records and newspapers and US national collections, like the census and military records. These records are in the process of ongoing indexation, so if you cannot find your ancestor in the index now, check back again soon.
Each record includes an image that usually contains more information about your ancestor that is not in the transcript. This may include such crucial details as their occupation, their destination, and even a physical description. Be sure to read the entire image in order to uncover all of the details for your ancestor that were recorded.
Some transcripts report a ship name but this is not always the ship that carried your ancestor across Lake Ontario or the Saint Lawrence River. Often, this ship name is the vessel that carried your ancestor to the United States or Canada originally before they crossed the border. It is important to check for this information in the image, and verify with the date of arrival in the country and the date of the crossing, to make sure you understand when they were aboard that specific ship.
If you cannot find someone in the records, you can expand your search by selecting the “name variants” box under the search bar. This will return more records with similar names, alternate spellings or the use of initials or middle names.