These border crossing records primarily document early 20th-century Mexican immigration to the United States. During the first 30 years of the 1900s, more than 1 million Mexicans immigrated to the United States as a result of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, job opportunities during WWI and U.S. agricultural advances.
"There are unique and untold stories waiting to be discovered about the American southwest and Mexico," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. "This collection represents a significant opportunity for Mexican-Americans to discover their family's footsteps to the United States and for everyone to celebrate Mexican contributions to American culture. Interestingly, the records cut across several ethnicities. For instance, those of French, Russian and Chinese heritage may be surprised to find their ancestors in this collection."
These records contain insightful clues into a family's past, such as names and birthdates of travelers, names of friends or family in Mexico or the United States, as well as some signatures. This collection will be an especially useful tool for individuals whose ancestors arrived from Mexico between 1908 and 1957, as the most complete records were kept during this time period. Many of these border crossing records also include passport-type photos that were attached to the original documents.
Ancestry.com transcribed the names in the collection from more than 3 million documents. The records were culled from 24 land ports of entry from California to Texas. Among the busiest ports of entry were Laredo, Brownsville and El Paso, Texas; Nogales, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California.