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Due to Ellis Island's connection to immigration, we have tried to provide some basic help for those who are just beginning their research. Before you search the records, begin by gathering as much information as possible from sources within your family. Try to identify the names of particular immigrants, the date and location of their arrival in the United States, their port of departure overseas, and their age at immigration.
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Ask your relatives what they know and see if they have any old documents that might provide information, such as birth, marriage, or death certificates; steamship tickets; naturalization papers; a family Bible; or photos that can help identify people and narrow down dates. Explore This Park. Info Alerts Maps Calendar Reserve. Alerts In Effect Dismiss. Ship Manifests: Throughout most of U. The United States began requiring ships to provide copies of their manifests to the Federal Government in Many earlier passenger lists still exist, but the records before are not complete.
Early manifests provide little information about each passenger. Most 19th century manifests provide the name of the vessel, the ports of departure and arrival, and the date of arrival in the United States.
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You may also learn if the person was traveling alone or with family, and sometimes the number of bags carried. Births and deaths that occurred during the voyage are also noted. Beginning in , the lists provide more detailed information for each passenger. Passengers were asked whether they had been in the United States before, and if so, when and where. If the passenger was going to join a relative in the U. Beginning in , U.
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Census records asked the birthplace for each resident. This is always an interesting challenge. Her age in the U. Census was the same as it was in Somehow she went a decade without getting older ha, ha!
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Census records asked immigrants to state the year they immigrated to the U. Take note of any variation in years to create a span of possible immigration years.
Prior to , try to determine the earliest year in which you can find a record for your immigrant ancestor. In addition, draft registration cards, military records e.
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Civil War and passport applications may provide names of parents or even dates of immigration. You may be able to chase one of the relatives back to a specific location in Ireland, thus finding the home townland or parish of your direct ancestor. Finding out if your Irish ancestor was Catholic or Protestant will allow you to identify the types of church records to search in Ireland. Identifying the county in Ireland where your immigrant ancestor lived will make searching for him or her in Ireland much easier. Unfortunately, census records and death certificates typically just identify the place of birth as Ireland.
Sometimes the county in Ireland where an individual was born or lived will appear on a gravestone or cemetery log. Ship manifests, military records and passport applications may include a county in Ireland where your ancestors lived. It is very unlikely that you will be able to find all of the information noted in this article for any given Irish ancestor. However, the more information you can uncover the better your chances of pinpointing his or her home townland in Ireland. They run a genealogy search business and can be reached on their website www. You can also visit their Old Friends Genealogy Facebook page.
This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.
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