Re: ports of arrival vs. departure.
- Please remember that in the majority of cases, it does not help your
searching to know the port of departure -first-, as few ports kept
records of departure to search (yes Hamburg did, but as with any index
it has gaps, and you can't -assume- anyone left from any port really....
we don't know the circumstances of anyone's leaving... the only country
who consistently has good emigration records are Sweden, and that is for
a limited time frame).
Port of arrival is what you need to try and find ship arrival records..
and you can search the microfilms of all US ports via your local FHC (no
need to send to NARA for a ship record, as it takes too long and is too
costly, now $17.50, and if you had all the information you have to give
NARA to get them to send you a copy of the manifest, you could easily
get it yourself from your local FHC or any online service where you can
rent films such as HeritageQuest). See the info on how to do this on my
Helpful Hints site, url below.
It would be nice to say all people leaving a certain country left from a
certain port, but we can't make that assumption. People left from
various points depending on their circumstances at the time. I have had
instances where in the dead of winter my gr/grandmother went from Berlin
Germany, by land and sea through Sweden, then to Liverpool and
Queenstown, then finally to NY and CT. Why? Who knows? Maybe it was the
easier way to travel with a 6 month old. Maybe the fare was cheaper the
long way out. Maybe she wanted to get to the US so badly to be with her
husband that this long way was quicker than waiting for a boat in a
German port. Maybe she bought the wrong ticket <g> And -then- on the
passenger list, since she boarded the NY bound ship in Sweden, she is
listed as Swedish, not German.
My point is, you have to be open to all the possibilities, and that is
something you can best do yourself, by searching the films and being on
the lookout for various spellings etc. In the example above, I knew the
exact date of her arrival, but if I had sent to NARA for it with that
info, not only would it have cost me more, but they would have sent me
back a "not found" letter since the manifest listed her as Swedish, and
I would have put down German. Unless it's an exact match, the NARA
workers are instructed not to give "close enoughs" to people.
Maura Petzolt Mobile Alabama USA
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