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Friday, November 10, 2017

Coming to America: Ellis Island on MyHeritage

More than 94 million immigration records from Ellis Island and other passenger lists have been added to the collections. Here is an expanded description of the collection from the website.
Ellis Island and Other New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
94,028,112 records 
During the 19th and 20th centuries millions of immigrants came to the United States. This collection contains millions of records of individuals arriving at the port of New York between 1820 and 1957. This includes individuals who arrived at three well-known immigrant processing stations: Castle Garden (1855-1890), the Barge Office (1890-1892), and Ellis Island (1892-1957). 
Early passenger lists were single page manifests and recorded minimal information about passengers. Over time forms were standardized and additional questions were added. Depending on the year, information recorded about a passenger may include name, age, gender, occupation, destination, and information regarding place of origin—e.g. native country, citizenship status, race, nationality, birthplace, or last residence. By 1907 passenger manifests contained 29 columns and were two-pages wide with left and right sides. Many of the passenger manifests span two pages, and a common omission for genealogists has been to locate the first page and miss the existence of the second. MyHeritage has solved this problem for the first time by stitching the double pages into single document images, ensuring that important information will not be missed. 
Two questions that were included on the manifest beginning in 1907 were: 1) name and address of nearest friend or relative in country whence the alien came; and 2) whether going to join a relative or friend, and if so, what relative or friend, and his name complete address. MyHeritage has indexed the names and relationships of the individuals referenced in these two additional questions, making MyHeritage the only place where these additional names are searchable. 
Records in this collection come from National Archives (NARA) microfilm collections M237 (Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897) and T715 (Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957).
Personally, I have no examples from my own ancestors who I am aware of who arrived in New York during this time period, but I have found the names of the ancestors of many of those who I have helped over the years in these separate databases. The vast advantage this collection adds to those who have their family trees on and also have data subscriptions cannot be understated. What is more, the MyHeritage Record Match technology will be used to match those ancestors automatically to the new databases.

Here is a screenshot of part of my own list of Matches by Source from my family tree on as an example of the kinds of records found automatically.

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