Living Between Two Countries

The question of when my mother-in-law Diana Shulman moved from Toronto to New York City most likely cannot be definitely solved. It seems that it was a gradual move, according to the documents that I have discovered. The first document is 1945 (and does not indicate she was ever in the United States before), so I am going to assume that in 1944 she still lived in Canada. She was 22 years old in this photo taken on vacation in summer 1944. I do not know the location.

The first document I have found relating to her move is from 10 November 1945, documenting her crossing the border into the United States. Note that that is two months after the end of WWII. According to Wikipedia during this time period (1915-1954), crossings between Canada and the U.S. were only recorded at train arrival stations along the northern borders of New York and Vermont. Her crossing was at Buffalo, NY. She was 23, and the paperwork states that she was a saleslady.

I have a very hard time reading these index cards. It looks to me that she was traveling to her relatives, Mr. and Mrs. I. Z. Brand who lived at 1822 44th St. in Brooklyn. (This looks like an area of old brownstones). This would be Mr. and Mrs. Izidor Zangwill Brand, her mother’s younger sister Beatrice and her husband. They had three children, all a little bit older than Diana. On the line underneath her name, I have no idea what it says: SOMETHING in Canada.

There is a line that says “Last permanent residence,” and Diana’s parents’ address in Toronto is listed. Under “Purpose in coming and time remaining” it seems to say V-pl = 29 days. 

On the backside of the card, it seems to indicate that she should not be admitted without a SOMETHING visa. But I can’t read that word. It says “see file.” But what file if the index cards are usually the only thing recording a border crossing at this time period? Can you read what it says? Also, see near the top right: it says something about to 1/9/46–according to a reader, it probably says ext. or extended to 1/9/46.

Related question, in case you know the answer: are these index cards called a manifest or not? Obviously they are very different from a ship’s manifest because they are not a record of “everyone” on the same document. These cards do not, for instance, show if Diana was traveling with anyone else (although we believe she was usually or always alone).

This next card seems to be from 1947. I will post it as I downloaded it and then also the front and back sides separately so you can see better.

This time the card lists that Diana has been in the United States before: Var. visits and ?/1/46 – 2/21/47. She brings $50 with her and plans to reside permanently!

On this card she might be indicated she will live with her grandmother, Mrs. Isidore Shulman, who appears to live with the Brands (one of Diana’s grandmother’s daughters, of course) during this time period. I thought that Diana’s grandfather’s name was Harry, so I either have heard that wrong–or the card is a mistake, perhaps confusing Mr. Brand’s first name with Mr. Shulman’s?

Here is a card from, I believe, 1948:

Now we see where Diana resided last time she was in the U.S.: 542 ?. 112th St. Manhattan. This could be a fairly tall old apartment building. She says she was in the country from 3/26/47 to 3/28/46. HUH? Isn’t that backwards? or is 46 supposed to be 48? She has $12 with her this time, and is Res. Res. Perm., whatever that really means.


Perhaps these three documents would really help someone who knows more than I do about immigration genealogy. An understanding of the laws of the time would be very useful.

To me it looks like she traveled back and forth either to visit her family or perhaps because she was not allowed to stay any longer by the laws and had to go back to Canada and then re-enter the United States.

But what drew Diana to New York City?

(Next time!)

8 thoughts on “Living Between Two Countries

  1. I tried to decipher some of it. On the first card is says something like Pr…ing Canada verified. I can’t read that first word either.
    I assume the V-PL—is some type of visa for 20 days?
    On the back I think it says Do Not Admit without Immig(ration) visa. There must be a file. The note underneath says she got a 4 e visa.

    You should post these on Tracing the Tribe and also ask how to locate her immigration file. Did she ever apply for citizenship? Social Security? There must be other papers. Have you checked the National Archives or the USCIS websites? I am no expert at that research and have lots of guidance from experts when I’ve done that kind of research, but there could be a wealth of information in her file.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Amy, for everything here. As you know by now, I took your advice about Facebook! I have ordered Diana’s naturalization record from NARA (I hope it works!), but that wasn’t until the mid-50s. You thought it said 20 days for that visa? I thought 29? No?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it is 1/9/46 (not 44). This 2 months after her entry date of 11/10/45. Her visiting permit is 29 days. I think it says, “ext to 1/9/46” — extended to 1/9/46. I think this card deals with not just her entry into the U.S. but the subsequent extension. The extension alerted officials that she was a likely immigrant and thus the note about immigrant visa.

    I think it is “province.” I think it is immigrant or immigration visa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, of course, it’s 46. I just changed it. Thank you!!! I like the idea of extended. You must be right. Woohoo! Thank you for your careful read. It sure helps to have an editor looking over this stuff!

      Liked by 1 person

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