For those of you who had relatives come into US ports, particularly NY
(which at various times was either a wharf in Manhattan, Castle Garden
or Ellis Island) you might want to check the information on my Helpful
Hints page at http://www.rootsweb.com/~irlwat/instruct.htm
Lists into NY, and Other US ports.
Depending upon the year for NY arrivals there are some indexes.... an
alphabetical and soundex index for 1897-1902, and then a soundex index
for 1902-1947. (There is an alphabetical index for 1820-1846, and no
index at all for NY arrivals 1847-1897, the years of greatest
Later years, after 1892, will tell you exactly where the person came
from (village name), exactly who they are going to, even how much money
they had with them. Its a good way to get village names if you are not
sure, and to see if other relatives came with them.
Of course the one problem for any port is the spelling of the name.....
I have seen my surnames mangled in many various ways, and often have had
to get indexes for the correct spelling, and when I don't find them,
then the index for the usual ways the name is misspelled. In my cases,
it hasn't given me information I didn't know in terms of biographical
data, but our family story was always that my widowed gr/grandmother
Matilda Jankovich Silhavy came with her 4 children directly to
Bridgeport CT around 1902.
Upon investigation I found her oldest son came at age 16 in 1903 to
Sheppton Pennsylvania to Matilda's sister and her husband (Nechasek),
and in 1904 I find his younger brother Bela came to Bridgeport to his
mother Matilda. A phone call to an older member of the family explained
that they first went to PA to the coal mines, and after 6 months Joseph
determined he did not want to stay in the mines, so by that time Matilda
had come with the two girls, and they moved to Bridgeport where she
could work as a seamstress for a woman she knew back in Sabinov. (I am
still trying to find Matilda and the girls date of arrival.)
The point is that even just knowing the name of the ship your family
came on is wonderful! I found out my great uncle Bela came on the
Carpathia on what may have been its maiden voyage, way before it became
famous for rescuing the Titanic. But everytime I see photos of the deck
of the Carpathia I think that is where he walked while crossing the
There are indexes for other US ports also, and you can get the film
numbers on my page to look up those ports in the catalog at your FHC.
I encourage everyone to find the ship their ancestors arrived on!