3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 2, 2020 11:22 AM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking inmate records for John Fraser at McNeil Island Penitentiary

    Jacqueline Gamertsfelder Newbie

      I'm trying to find information on my Great Uncles life. The only records I have about him are the border Crossing from Canada to Blaine.


      I feel so new to this, I don't even know where to start. I do have a great deal about this man Prior to him migrating from England to Canada in 1920. I know he died in 1966. But his life in between 1920 and 1966 is written on these cards.There is a claim on one of the cards that he spent 17 months in McNeil Pen. I have the cards which I'll link below.


      Prior to 1920, he was born John Malcolm Fraser, in England in 1906, But as you will see in the manifests, he had a couple of Alias's. It seems he also used other peoples identification to Cross the Border as shown on the Manifests, so he has a few things happening concerning his name and place / date of birth.


      The back side of the cards basically tell of his travels, When the arrest warrant was applied for, written on the 1950 Manifest, and when the warrant was issued, written on the back of the 1954 Manifest, with the reason for his arrest. I don't know if he really spent time at McNeil Pen. It, or rather he claims he served 17 months there, but it also claims he spent 21 months in Tranquille Sanctuary, having active Tuberculosis and was released from there in January 1953,


      I am wondering, given the time frame as to whether he got out of going to McNeil Pen. due to the fact he had Tuberculosis, or did he come straight out of McNeil Pen. and tried to cross the border again a few months after his release where it was found he had active Tuberculosis sent to the Sanctuary,


      Any help, or point out to where I go from here would be greatly appreciated, I have emailed NARA, but I am wondering if there is anything I can do myself as I wait for their reply,



      U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956

      19 Feb 1950Blaine, Washington, USA


      U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956

      28 Mar 1953Blaine, Washington, USA

      Border Crossing from Canada to Blaine, Washington


      U.S., Border Crossings from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956

      29 Dec 1954Blaine, Washington, USA

        • Re: Seeking inmate records for John Fraser at McNeil Island Penitentiary
          Alice Lane Tracker

          Hi Jacqueline,

          I checked ancestry.com and there is a lot of information about your great uncle there. It is a pay website but you can get a 14 day free trial if you have not had a previous subscription.  Here is a copy of a page that I found about him.     . https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=2238&h=6517400&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=dkd859&_phstart=suc…

          Good Luck in your search and if you need more help please do not hesitate to ask.


            • Re: Seeking inmate records for John Fraser at McNeil Island Penitentiary
              Jacqueline Gamertsfelder Newbie

              Thanks for your reply and for your time. I have the majority of the records for him from Ancestry, Though I've still to work on that draft card yet as to the why's and who's regarding that document. The only thing I'm lacking from Ancestry is his orbit, as much as I am subscribed to Ancestry, I'm unable to access the newspaper that has him a Tohn Malcolm Fraser.. that's two things for me to work on from Ancestry.


              Name Tohn Malcolm Fraser

              Gender Male

              Death Age 60

              Birth Date 1906

              Residence Place 1148 Robson St.

              Death Date 1966

              Burial Date 21/05

              Obituary Date 20/05/1966

              Obituary Place Vancouver British Columbia Canada



              I thought I would delve into the border crossing cards that have him in McNeil Penitentiary. Currently Ancestry only hold inmate records for McNeil Penitentiary up until 1939. And John Malcolm Fraser was an inmate from April 1950. I have just received an email from nara that he is listed in the catalogues here on their website


              Fraser, John Malcolm, Intake # 21275, Arrived April, 1950. His crime was Immigration Act-Illegal Entry. Additionally there may be a criminal case with the US District Courts.

            • Re: Seeking inmate records for John Fraser at McNeil Island Penitentiary
              Jason Atkinson Pioneer

              Dear Ms.Gamertsfelder,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


              We searched the National Archive Catalog and located Inmate Index Cards, ca. 1930 - 1981 in the Records of the Bureau of Prisons (Record Group 129) that pertain to the McNeil Island Penitentiary. We also located district court records for the Northwestern region in the Records of District Courts of the United States (Record Group 21). For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at Seattle (RW-SE) via email at seattle.archives@nara.gov.


              Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RW-SE. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


              We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!