St. Albans Lists

Go back to the Homepage


St. Albans Lists FAQ

Be sure to hit refresh/reload to get the latest version.

My experience with St. Alban's list is small but frustrating. I noticed there is VERY little written about St. Alban's Lists on the internet and I'm guessing few people are using this wonderful resource. In any case, I've come accross postings and inquiries about this subject and through my own research have come with some common frequently asked questions (FAQs). I've also provided some links to direct information for further study below. Feel free to browse through what I have, but please don't write me asking to do a lookup. I do not own any reels on the subject and cannot do any lookups. If you find someone who does and is willing to do lookups (or perhaps it's you) please contact me and I will provide their names and contact information here.

What are St. Albans Lists?
St. Albans Lists are lists of immigrants who crossed the border from Canada into the U.S. between 1895 and 1954.

There is a St. Albans, Vermont. Isn't this just those who crossed the border in St. Alban's, Vermont?
No. While they're collectively known as St. Albans, Vermont district records, they also contain records of immigrants crossing over in Washington, Montana, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, and Minnesota, in fact all along the U.S. Canadian border.

Do St. Albans Lists index ALL entries into the U.S. through Canada in 1895 until 1954?
No. After 1917, anyone entering WEST of the Montana/North Dakota State line were filed in Seattle, Washington. A reader also has this to say:
"People of Canadian birth were not recorded on the St. Albans lists until 1906. I spent a while searching them for ancestors I knew had moved from Canada to the US around the turn of the century until I realised that it did not include Canadians until later. This information is available on the NARA site, but it's not obvious. Unless I missed something, the early part of the list doesn't include long-term residents of Canada either, only transients."
Thanks to Jennifer for sharing this with us.

Are there any other lists or ways to search for immigrants crossing from Canada into the U.S. prior to 1895?
Not that this writer is aware of. You could always check passenger lists. The problem there is you would need the port date, and ship name. If you know of any please let me know. Otherwise, try checking out this wonderful site:

Are there any lists for people leaving the U.S. and crossing the border into Canada?
I'm sorry, again, not that I know of. One reader of this FAQ said that records were kept after 1906 and these records are available in Canada. You could try National Archives of Canada. Prior to 1906, I am not aware of any records. There was no need to keep them. (Read further).

Why were St. Albans Lists' records kept?
In the beginning there were no border crossing inspectors. Then, as the U.S. government ordered certain requirements for U.S. entry, the government noticed a certain trend. Immigrants realized that they could "bypass" the U.S. inspectors by entering Canada then crossing the border into the U.S. As the U.S. government took notice of the trend, they in turn asked Canada to assist them by requesting documentation. Canada agreed in 1894.

What documentation?
The steamships crossing the border were to keep a passenger manifest form. Railroads were "to carry only those immigrants who were legally admitted to the United States to U.S. destinations". The U.S. inspectors, stationed along the borders, collected the manifests.

Are these records transcribed, or are they the originals?
The original records no longer exist. The soundex index was transcribed in the 1930's. I'm not yet positive on how the manifests came to be put on film.

Are there any other records in St. Albans Lists?
Yes. In 1895 the U.S. inspectors required that those entering the U.S. via Canada through sea ports to obtain a Certificate of Admission after passing a health inspection and quarantine. Railroads required a Certificate of Admission if the passenger arrived in Canada within the previous 30 days. At land border "ports", inspectors prepared the List (or) Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission to the United States from Foreign Contiguous Territory also called Form 1-Canada. This list refers to two sets of people. The first set are immigrants who may have lived in Canada for months/years prior to entering the U.S. and who came from a nation other than Canada up to October 1, 1906. After October 1, 1906 the list then refers to the second set which then included Canadians in addition to those from another nation.

What does Form 1-Canada contain?
All the information required by the immigration laws at the time in addition to the port, date, and ship that originally carried them to Canada.

So, why are they called St. Albans Lists if they contain records of ports outside of St. Albans?
Originally, the INS records were filed in the Montreal INS office. When the INS moved it's office to St. Albans, Vermont, the records were moved there too. So, they came to be known as St. Albans Lists. Yes, it's confusing but there it is.

I looked at the soundex card for my ancestor. It had quite a bit of information on it. Is it worth the effort to look up the manifest as well?
Possibly. The transcribers did their best to transfer nearly all the information from the original manifest records to the soundex record. However, not all of them did so. Some of the soundex transcriptions will be complete, some will not. There is really no yes or no answer.

How do I obtain the manifests? The manifests are available on microfilm through the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) for purchase and through the LDS Family History Centers (FHC) interlibrary loan program. Many other federal and local libraries offer rentals, viewing, etc. Call your nearby libraries and ask. Otherwise, check below for further information. I will eventually, as time permits, add libraries here that offer special viewing/rentals.

How are they organized?
They are divided into four groups or rather titles.
  1. Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954. 639 rolls.
  2. Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949. 25 rolls.
  3. Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont, District, 1895-1924. 401 rolls.
  4. Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952. 98 rolls.
What's the difference between the Manifests and the Soundex titles?
What's soundex?
It's a method used to code surnames. You will need to know the soundex code for the surname you are looking for. It's outside of this FAQ to detail the method, but you can quickly get your code here. Just be sure to use your browser's back button to come back to this page.

Are there any transcriptions online?
Unfortunately, not that I am aware of. If you are willing to transcribe any records please do so and contact me. It would be a wonderful endeavor to provide a database of this information. There is no financial assitance available but volunteering would be a wonderful asset to the genealogical community. I am willing to set up a free database through GenWeb.

How do I get a reel or film?
First, the links needed are located below.

For Further Study

Note that links outside of this site will open in a new browser window .

Film Numbers

I have provided a list here at my website of all the film numbers both from NARA and LDS. I have NOT changed anything on the lists. I did it per copy/paste. If there are errors, they are not mine. :-) National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
LDS Family History Center
Other Libraries
There are plenty of libraries out there which house some, if not all, of St. Albans Lists. I've had a couple of readers share with me some of these libraries. As this list grows, I'll move it to another page. But so far here are the libraries suggested. I also want to note that it's best to call in advance just to be sure. Record Samples
This page was last updated 12/2/2001.

If you have any information you feel I should add, or update, please let me know. This is intended to help many others. Let's share what we have.


This page has been viewed

times since November 18, 2001.