POINT Chapter 15 Meeting - November 6, 2004

POINTers In Person
Chapter 15
Northern New Jersey

P.O. Box 636
Totowa, New Jersey

Pursuing Our Italian Names Together

November 6, 2004

Albert Marotta (#1018)
The Northern New Jersey chapter of POINTers In Person met on November 6, 2004 at the Elmwood Park Municipal Building.  Twenty people attended.

Maria Carparelli (#2100) opened the meeting.

Maryanne Graham (#3654) presented the treasurer’s report.  The chapter has 96 members;
64 of them have kept their dues current.

The chapter agreed to raise membership fees, effective February 5th .  A bylaws review committee
(Maryanne Graham, Al Marotta, Anthony Scillia, and Maria Carparelli) was formed.  The bylaws need to be updated and revised.   Maria distributed a short survey to members to learn of their interests concerning the chapter’s future activities.  Loretta Tito (#4717) donated books on Italian subjects to the members.

A plaque of appreciation was awarded to Annita Zalenski (#39) by the chapter for founding the chapter in September 1996, for her dedication as its president during its first eight years, and for being its “guiding light”.

Arnold Lang, of the Genealogical Society of Bergen County, NJ, gave an informative presentation entitled, Using Passenger Arrival Lists to Find Your 19th and 20th century Immigrant Ancestors.

Arnold reminded members that emigration/immigration information was collected at the place of departure (in the form of passenger lists supplied by ticket agents to the captains who then filed them at the port, in newspaper accounts at the port of departure, in the form of permissions to leave, in police records, in passports, and in Emigrant Aid Society Records) and at the place of arrival (passenger lists filed at the port of arrival, newspapers accounts at this port, visas and alien registrations filed with INS, Naturalization Records, U.S. Passport Applications, Quarantine Lists).  Sometimes lists were filed at ports of call during the voyage.

Pre-1820 passenger list records are rarely found today.  Most are scattered among society or library archives, although some have been extracted and published.  A few are on the Internet.  Customs Passenger Lists (1820-1891) are usually available on microfilm.  Those for NY extend to June 1897.  Immigration Passenger Lists (1891-1957) are often on microfilm and after 1905 they contain the most valuable information for genealogists.  Records for the Port of NY begin June 1897.  Indexes for these records (1820-1957) are found on microfilm, except for NY 1846-June 1897 and Boston 1820-1847 and 1892-1901.  Arnold continued his talk by deciphering the two different types of SOUNDEX Index Cards.

Information from Custom Passenger Lists include: captain and ship name, date of arrival and port of departure, passenger’s name, age, sex and occupation, country of origin, destination in U.S.  After 1906, information from Immigration Passenger Lists expanded to include: name, age, sex; whether married; occupation; nationality; race; city of last residence; city and state of final destination; name and address of closest relative remaining in the country of origin; whether able to read or write; whether alien had at least $50 and who paid for the ticket and whether it was for the final destination; name and address of person in U.S. alien is going to visit; whether insane or ever in prison.

When searching for ship passenger lists, researchers should keep in mind that the arrival of a ship at a port in America might have been reported a few days later if the arrival took place on a weekend or holiday.  On board ships, checks were made for stowaways.  Newborns might be listed as “baby child born”, with no name included.  Also the last page of the list often shows those who were detained foe whatever reason.

 Before 1855, emigrants and their luggage were deposited on the wharf and often became the target of waiting swindlers.  Therefore the State of New York decided to use Castle Garden, on the southern tip of the island of Manhattan, as an immigrant processing center.  By 1890, the Federal Government assumed control of immigration and had jurisdiction over all ports and furnished immigration and customs passenger lists.  Due to a fire in 1896, which destroyed all Castle Garden and Ellis Island records, no passenger lists from this period and place exist.

To search for ship passenger lists, the researcher first needs to know the full original name of the ancestor, the approximate date of arrival and the port of arrival.  The Declaration of Intent in the Naturalization Record and the U.S. Census for 1910-1930 will give the date of arrival.  Use migration routes to determine the port of arrival.

If the year of arrival was between 1850 and 1891, researchers can try Ancestry.com, Italian Emigrants Data Banks departure lists (www.italians-world.org/Italy/BancaDatiGb.htm), microfilm indexes at the National Archives or the Family History Centers of the LDS, Italians to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports 1880-1900 (on CD through 1893), and Naturalization Records. Arrivals between 1892 and 1924 can often be found online at the Ellis Island Database (http://www.stevemorse.org).  Microfilm indexes at the National Archives, the FHC of the LDS or a major city public library and Naturalization Records are the usual method to find passenger lists after 1924. Links to all online catalogs (Customs, Immigration, LDS and National Archives) to find the needed microfilm number for passenger lists can be found at http://home.att.net/~arnielang/shipgide.html

Passenger Lists can also be found at http://olivetreegenealogy.com / www.theshipslist.com  and http://home.att.net/~wee-monster/passengers.html

Be aware that there are many errors, omissions and even missed ships and missed parts of ship passenger lists on online databases.

For details see: http://home.att.net/~arnielang or contact Arnold Lang at arnielang@att.net.

    Future meetings will be held on:
     February 5, 2005
     May 7, 2005
     August 6, 2005
     November 5, 2005

 For details, see our website:     https://sites.rootsweb.com/~njpoint/

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