Border Hopping Canadians- Finding Records in Canada and the United States



One of my collateral line ancestors, Gordon Frederick Campbell, border hopped from Canada to the United States to live and then returned to Canada where he died. In the process he left behind many records that are now accessible.

Manitoba Vital Statistics Website
His birth record can be purchased from Manitoba Vital Statistics according to their online index. Note that the search engine of this site does not find alternate or close spellings of a name. If a spelling mistake was made in the name and you are entering the correctly spelled name it will not find it. I often put in a surname, a location and a date as work arounds if I do not get an immediate hit.  In this case Gordon was listed in the index as Gordon Frederic Campbell. He was born 17 September at Brandon, Manitoba.

Library and Archives Census and Military Website Content
The Library and Archives Canada website (LAC) allowed me to track Gordon through the censuses from 1900 to 1921. They detail his family’s move from Brandon to Vancouver, British Columbia. For the 1921 Census I found him by using the search terms Gordon and Campbell. I could have also found him by using his then wife’s name Sarah. I looked for a Sarah and a Gordon who were age appropriate since I knew his date of birth.

At this website I was also able to access his military record for World War I.  It took some changing in how I entered his information because his attestation paper [no. 760505) listed him as Gordon Fred Campbell. When I searched on the terms Gordon Frederick Campbell the LAC website did pick up on Gordons and Fredericks but did not pick up the Fred. Again the terms that you enter in the search boxes decide what you get back. Gordon survived the war and was discharged in 13 August 1919.

Digitized British Columbia City Directories 1860-1955
I was able to find out about where he lived in Vancouver and his occupation by accessing the digitized British Columbia City Directories 1860-1955. Keep in mind that the information in the city directories might not be current as he might have moved to another location mid year. According to the British Columbia and Yukon Directory of 1941 he was a driver for H. Tate and lived at 2224 Clark in Vancouver. Note that this directory covered the Yukon as well. It pays to check how wide the geographical record of people is for any series of directories.

Washington State Archives-Digital Archives Website
Family lore suggested that he divorced Sarah circa 1941 and remarried. His daughters noted that he had been a carpenter when he lived in Seattle, Washington. They knew little about the actual dates of his successive marriages but provided the names Edith Dozenburg and Jean Hettie McConache.  I was able to find the first marriage on the Washington State Archives –Digital Archives website. I used a last name of groom and bride search and found the entry in the index only after I changed the spelling of Dozenburg to Dosenburg. Gordon married Elizabeth May Dosenburg [spelling on the certificate] 7 March 1936, County of Whatcom, State of Washington. This is a reminder that names can be poorly remembered or nicknames remembered instead.

I found Gordon’s marriage to Hettie Jean McConachie using his name and a time period in which I thought it may have occurred. Her last name was misspelled by the minister as McConchie, Hettie signed as McConachie and her name was indexed as McConahie. This database didn’t show a lot of flexibility in searches. Gordon married Hettie 9 July 1955 at Bethany Presbyterian Church, Seattle, King County, State of Washington.

I will explore border crossing records, naturalization papers and death records for Gordon Frederick Campbell in my next post.

Alan Campbell
Lambton Lifeline
Lambton County Branch of The Ontario Genealogical Society
© 2018

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