NARA Searches for Passenger Arrival Lists??
- Praise is due for Maura Petzolt's marvelously lucid instructions for
obtaining the naturalization papers of our ancestors (see
http://www.rootsweb.com/~irlwat/natu.htm ). By following her
recommendations, and by having the luck to meet (on-line) a marvelous
archivist at NARA's mid-Atlantic branch, I had the naturalization papers of
my grandparents and one great-grandparent in hand in less than a week after
sending my initial e-mail request to the National Archives!!
Now I am on the hunt for finding passenger lists for the ships on which my
ancestors arrived to determine which persons traveled together and which,
if any, traveled alone. I have determined that the appropriate rolls of
microfilm that most probably contain the data I want are the following
rolls of microfilm listed in the NARA Catalog of Microcofilm Publications
regarding "Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals":
Series T-844 Passenger lists for Baltimore, Maryland
Rolls 7-8 covering 4th May 1907 (vessel "The FRANKFURT")
Series T-715 Passenger lists for New York, New York
Rolls 5223-5225 covering 1st April 1914 (vessel "The NOORDAM")
Rolls 5334-5336 covering 4th June 1914 (vessel "The IMPERATOR")
Series T-840 Passenger lists for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Rolls 179-180 covering 1st June 1913 (vessel "Graf Waldersee")
Going to the "nearest" FHS to review these rolls of microfilm is not a
possibility for me, and these rolls of microfilm are not available as part
of the interlibrary loan program from NARA. But I have ascertained that
given (1) the full name of the person being researched, (2) the port of
entry, and (3) the month and year of arrival, the National Archives in
Washington, DC will search their copy of Passenger Arrival Lists for a fee
(assuming you fill out the correct form NATF 81, which I have requested but
which hasn't arrived yet). However, NARA states that "Additional facts,
such as the passenger's age and names of accompanying passengers, can be
useful", and this is exactly what I am trying to find!
So my QUESTION(s): Has anybody used the search services of the National
Archives in DC to find and photocopy Passenger Arrival Lists? If so, were
they successful? What information did you provide them?
- 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
Helpful Hints for Successful Searching