How to Use Public Immigration Records in Finding Your Family Line
Since America was settled by emigrants, it is a sure bet you have many in your family line. There are a few good websites to use to find this information.If you do find a record it may show the nationality, the age, height, eye and hair color, last residence, name and address of relatives who are meeting them and maybe, profession. The relatives who they are meeting is a wonderful source for more family members and helps to prove the immigrant is in the right family.The National Archives have records from approximately 1820-1982, but they are arranged by Port of Arrival. That is good if you know the port. People entered the country through Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans,UGG Boots Adirondack, New York and San Francisco.Many emigrants went to Canada before coming to America as it was cheaper. They could then just walk over the border.Microfilm copies of passenger lists up to 1955 are available at the National Archives Building in Washington D.C. You may send for the film needed and also for the NARA catalog. There are some specific films, such as Chinese, Russian or Irish Famine Immigrants at regional offices of the National Archives.Castle Garden has an online database of about ten million arrivals in New York between 1830-1892. Many immigrants fell through the cracks here, though, so do not count on the accuracy of this site. Ellis Island opened in 1892, but Castle Garden was the official immigration center from 1855-1890.Ellis Island has a database of more than twenty-two million passenger arrivals between 1892-1924. This site is free. Put in a name, you can just put a surname, and you will get the ship manifest and information about your ancestor. You can then order a copy of the manifest and the picture of the ship.I think my elusive grandmother landed in Boston in 1890, but I cannot get proof of this. She may have gone to Canada as some of our family went to Newfoundland and then ended up in New Jersey. Massachusetts has immigration records from 1848-1891. I went online tonight and found a possible: lady, from Co Cork, Ireland arrived on 5/10/1885 on the ship Samaria. She was #40on the list and she was 29, the right age. Wow, I may have found her.Over one million immigrants came through the port of Boston during these years. Volunteers are entering information into this database. It will take several years. How am I going to prove this is her?There are probably thousands of passenger lists online. I wasted a lot of time trying each list as it was published. With common Irish names, I received so many results, it was discouraging. Ellis Island is better for passengers coming and going after 1900.Do not give up. Keep searching. You will find your family line with immigration records and other records that you can compare and prove those ancestors.
Elizabeth Larsen has researched her family tree for 35 years. For more information on beginning a good genealogy go to



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