An often-overlooked, but major U.S. immigration channel, the U.S.-Canadian border typically offered easier entrance to the United States than sea ports such as Ellis Island. This new collection includes immigrants who first sailed to or settled in Canada before continuing to the United States as well as U.S. and Canadian citizens crossing the border.
"Everyone has their unique family story -- not all our immigrant ancestors came to America on board a ship," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for Ancestry.com. "This collection represents a significant opportunity for people whose ancestors had Canadian roots or entered the country via Canada to trace their footsteps back in time."
Ancestry.com transcribed the names in the collection from more than 1 million documents, some containing passport-type photos of immigrants. The records were culled from more than 100 land-ports of entry, from Washington to Maine. Among the busiest ports of entry on both sides of the border were Niagara Falls, Buffalo, Detroit, Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto.
The border crossings also contain a surprising number of nationalities with Russians, Italians and Chinese among the most common nationalities of people crossing the U.S.-Canadian border.
Among notable border crossers is Superman creator, Joseph Shuster. Born in Toronto, Shuster moved to the United States as a child, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen. His 1941 return to Canada, crossing at Buffalo, NY, is documented in the Ancestry.com collection.