Thursday, October 25, 2012


Tonight I decided I would investigate my Scots-Irish ancestors who lived in Canada. New York is not far from Canada, and I have traveled through customs in Niagara Falls many times.

On there is a database called “Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1954.” In this database, I found Alexander Stewart, my great grand uncle. These are some of the gems I discovered:

  • His arrival date (2 Oct 1916)
  • The port of arrival (Niagara Falls, New York)
  • The departure contact (his wife Elmor [which should be Eleanor])
  • His age (50) and his birth date (apx. 1866)
  • His race (Irish) and his nationality (Canadian)
  • His occupation (bricklayer)
  • His address (786 Palmerston Avenue, Toronto)
  • That he had been in the U.S. before from 1888 to 1893 and that he was returning to work.
  • His destination was Buffalo, NY, to a residence on 18 Chippewa.
  • He is listed as 5’8”, of medium complexion, with grey eyes and brown hair with no distinguishing marks.

There was no photo; it was a card type record. also gave me a clue that there was another record in the same database for Alexander Stewart. From this record I learned:

  • His arrival date was 5 Aug 1923
  • His port of arrival was Lewiston, New York
  • His wife’s name was Eleanore.
  • He was 57.
  • He was born in Toronto, Canada.
  • His health was good.
  • His address was 40 Sparkshall Ave.
  • He intended to be in the U.S. for two months.
  • He was not coming because of an offer of employment.
  • He had not been deported or in jail.
  • He was not a polygamist or an anarchist.

I then took the addresses (786 Palmerston Avenue and 40 Sparkshall Avenue in Toronto) and put them into Google maps. I not only got the location, but I also saw a picture of the homes that are there and a view of the neighborhood. 

That's quite a bit of information for one night. Sometimes you get lucky!


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Advertising Cuts of the 20s and 30s, 2003.


Record for Alexander Stewart, Arrival date 2 Oct. 1916, Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1954 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Alien Arrivals at Buffalo, Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and Rochester, New York, 1902-1954; National Archives Microfilm Publication: M1480; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: 85.

Ibid., Record for Alexander Stewart, 5 August 1923.


  1. My uncles spent many years between 1905 and 1952 travelling from Canada to USA and crossing at Huron or Niagara Falls . How do I trace their records.

  2. In addition to the Ancestry database referenced above, you could try New York, Northern Arrival Manifests, 1902-1956 on FamilySearch:
    Also see "Passenger Lists" by the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
    You could also contact the Buffalo Library at

    Good luck!