Treasure Chest Thursday: Border Travel Permit

My great-grandfather, Dennis O’Connell, died in 1950. My father had just turned a year old and probably never met his Grandfather. Dennis moved to Canada in 1917 and continued his life there until his passing in 1950.

As a resident of Canada, this card gave Dennis permission to travel back to the states, with no more than $5 in US funds, $10 altogether. This card is valid until Jul 8 1944.  According to the Inflation Calculator, that would be like traveling with $62.05 today. Can you imagine traveling with that amount of money today. We would be lucky if it put gas in the car and a meal in our stomaches.

As for genealogical information this card does not give many clues. Besides Dennis’ name, it gives us his current address of 52 Albert St., Thorold, Canada. I hope the house is still there. I would like to visit and take a few pictures.

The back of this card gives the conditions under which the permit mat be used. Unfortunately, it cannot be completely read, it was originally glued into a scrap-book. The black marks on the sides are from the book it was in. You can also see were the paper tore.  At the bottom right hand side, you can see where Dennis signed his name to the document. I get really excited when I see an original signature of my ancestors.



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  1. I don’t know what I like more, old photos or documents. I especially enjoy seeing documents that my ancestors used in their daily lives. Thanks for sharing your g-grandfather’s travel permit. –Laura

  2. I took a look on Google Street View and there are two 52 Albert Sts in Thorold — E and W. Not sure which one your Dennis lived at. Head over to Google, put in the addresses, and you’ll be able to pull in the street view by clicking the little yellow man and dragging him to Albert St.

    You’ll be able to find the house numbers of the buildings if you double click on the houses; it’ll voom in. For reference, 52 W Albert is a blue house, and 52 E is a pale colored brick and white wood house with a cute little white picket porch and a red Canadian flag hanging on the wall on the porch.

    Ain’t the internet grand?

  3. I agree it is a toss up as to which I like more, the photo’s or documents. I only have a small amount of original documents and I love going through them.

    I love google maps, I think I tried to find the address months ago and had no success. Probably because I did not have the East or West to be definitive in my search. The internet is definitely GRAND!

    Thanks everyone for reading and commenting.

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