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This entry was originally written by Carol L. Maki and Michael John Neill for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
The only direct immigration to Minnesota would have been across the United States-Canadian border by land, railroad, or waterways. According to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, St. Paul, it was not until 1890 that port of entry records were kept for people entering from Canada. Passenger lists were not required on the lakes and rivers of Minnesota although some lists do exist. They may be found in diaries, letters, records of ship personnel, newspapers, or shipping company business papers. Their rarity makes them an uncommon source for genealogical research. For extensive information on the availability of river vessel records, see Ann H. Peterson’s comprehensive “Finding River People on Western Waters,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 78 (Dec. 1990): 245-61. Although focused on crews of steamboats, her listed sources could be helpful for research involving Midwest river travel. (See also Vermont Immigration).