Using that form is almost guaranteed to get you a "not found" letter in
about 6 months, which is about how long it takes at least to get a reply
from NARA on it. They also charge $10 a query. (I learned from a friend
who works at NARA in DC that researchers are given 22 minutes to find
the answer to a query, if they can't find it in 22 minutes they mark it
not found. I don't know anyone who can find something on a ship manifest
in 22 minutes, even given the name of the ship).
My advice to you, if you cannot use a FHC yourself, is to see if someone
is willing to order these films at their FHC and search them for you for
the cost of the film rental and copies and maybe a small "gift" for
their time. It will be much faster and more accurate than using NARA.
Some persons live near NARA branches and can look this up on films that
are already there at no charge.
I would join TheShipsList and ask there. Say exactly what your problem
is and say you will cover costs.. and give people the FHC film # you
need, (you can look that up using the info on my Hints page for NY
arrivals, and use the online FHC catalog at http://www.familysearch.org
to find the exact film # as they are not the same as NARA #s)
Of course, you can use the NARA services, but if the name is spelled a
bit differently on the manifest, the researchers often don't have time
to figure out if that person could be yours. I"d use NARA only as a last
resort for this (and census too... they are pretty good on War Records
Hope that helps.
Maura Petzolt Mobile Alabama USA
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