Volume 7, Number 18 | November 9, 2006
U.S. Passenger Lists
Ancestry.com has added to its online service all readily available U.S. passenger lists from 1820 to 1960. More than 100 American ports of arrival are represented in the compilation including the entire collection of passenger list records (1892–1957) for Ellis Island (Port of New York). There is free access to its entire Immigration Collection through the end of November. Its website is at http://www.ancestry.com. Click on "US Immigrant Collection" on this home page.
The Ellis Island records were reindexed by Ancestry.com and do not contain the efforts of Ellis Island database (EIDB). By having another group reindex a record group, errors in the first indexing may not exist in the reindexing. For example, a person named Max Mokotoff exists in the Ancestry index. In the EIDB, he is misindexed as Max Mohotoff. But the reverse is also true. There is a "Helene Mokotoff" in the EIDB that is not in the Ancestry index.
The major advantage to the Ancestry site is that it indexes arrivals after 1924, which is where the EIDB ends. Not only does it show immigrants but everyday passengers. For example, first cousins of my father, U.S. citizens by birth, apparently went on a Caribbean cruise in the 1950s and they appear on the list.
The Ellis Island records will be a boon to Holocaust research. To this day, people are looking for survivors who likely left Europe after World War II to an unknown place. The Location Service of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) has been useful to determine if a survivor came to the United States, but HIAS did not help all survivors. Passenger arrival records may be another source to demonstrate the survivor came to the U.S.
Among the numerous immigration database are:
* Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820–1948
* Boston Passenger Lists, 1820–1943
* California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893–1957
* Galveston Passenger Lists, 1896–1948
* New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820–1945
* New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957
* Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883–1945
The complete list of passenger arrival records can be found at http://www.ancestry.com/search/rectype/default.aspx?rt=40
All told, the various databases identify more than 100 million passengers. Ancestry.com experts, including more than 1,500 paleographers (handwriting specialists), spent more than 1.8 million hours and typed 4.5 billion keystrokes to create the fully searchable passenger list index. The company notes that for the first time, people can look to a single centralized source online to find all readily available passenger list records.
Ancestry.com has invested more than $100 million to acquire, digitize, and make searchable online invaluable historical records such as the exclusive U.S. census collection (1790–1930), birth, marriage and death records, photographs, military records and more. The company states it now has more than 5 billion names in 23,000 searchable databases.
Stephen P. Morse Portal to Ancestry Passenger Lists
Stephen P. Morse has already created a portal to the Ancestry.com New York passenger lists. It is located at his site http://stevemorse.org in the first section, "Ellis Island Search Forms and Ship Arrivals (1890–1924)," under the title "All NY Arrivals." It permits searching by any field in the database including final-destination, name of person meeting the passenger, age, month and day of birth, and month and day of arrival.
All Hamburg Emigration Lists to Be Available December 2006
Ancestry.com and Ballinstadt have announced jointly that images of all Hamburg emigration lists 1850–1934 will be online in December 2006 at their sites: http://ancestry.com and http://www.ballinstadt.com. Initially, an index will exist for 1890–1912. This is the index that was developed by the Hamburg State Archives. It is no longer available on the Internet and is now being relocated at the Ancestry.com site. All remaining passenger lists (1850–1890 and 1912–1934) may be browsed in chronological order by way of entering a specific date of departure as keyword and/or a ship's name.
Hamburg lists are very valuable for 19th-century U.S. arrivals because, unlike the U.S. immigration lists of that period, the Hamburg lists include emigrant's place of residence in Europe.
Ballinstadt is a planned tourist attraction in Hamburg on the site of the staging area where five million emigrants left the port. It will be open on July 4, 2007. I visited the site in 2002. At that time, only one building remained from the original structures. The site will recreate some of the buildings that existed during the height of the emigration period.
Ballinstadt started at the turn of the twentieth century when Albert Ballin, the Jewish general manager of the German shipping company, HAPAG, built mass accommodations at the Port of Hamburg for the many thousands of people from all over Europe who arrived in the city every week.
The reconstructed Ballinstadt will include a monument called "Wings of Hope" in honor of the millions on emigrants that passed through Hamburg. Parroting the Immigrant Wall of Honor located on the site of Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, descendants of these emigrants will be able to add a plaque containing the emigrant's name for a cost between $100–150.
A history of the Hamburg emigration port and plans for its recreation can be found at http://www.ballinstadt.com/en/index.php
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