From the Ancestry Daily News
Finding Peter, Paul, and Margarete: Using Online Passenger ListsThis week we do some searching of the New York Passenger List Index recently released to subscribers of Ancestry.com. While the online database makes searching and locating records much easier, our methodology can be applied to a manual search of the records. (Note: Peter, Paul and Margarete's Passenger lists can be viewed here).
The release of new databases frequently sends genealogists off to enter names
in search boxes, hoping to hit a goldmine. However, the first steps should involve
work in offline records in order to learn as much as possible about the immigrant
and organize that information before rushing into searches.
Approximate Date of Immigration
Family Structure Details
Included in the Ancestry Daily News archives is an article on my
for the Germanic origins of an 1850s-era immigrant to Davenport, Iowa. The
article discusses how a tentative family framework was created involving three
contemporary couples that all shared a common German heritage:
Paul and Elisabeth Schollmeyer Freund
Paul, the ancestor, died in the 1850s and all the Freunds listed are suspected
siblings. The others all died after the 1880 census and several decades after
Paul. Peter and Margaretha Freund are known to be siblings and children of a
Charles Freund. Paul and Peter are listed as neighbors in the 1856 Iowa State
Census. The couples also appear as godparents for each other's children in the
1850s and 1860s.
Off to the Passenger Lists
Paul's approximate date of birthca. 1828 Bavaria
This is information that will come in handy when I search the lists for Paul.
Why Search New York Lists?
A search of the New York Passenger Lists at Ancestry.com in early December
2003 included only two matches for the name, Paul Freund. This would seemingly
make the research an easy two-minute process. It does not. Unless there is overwhelming
evidence indicating I have the right guy, I will have to go through all the
matches and search all reasonable surname variants. One "close" match
does not mean that there are not other better matches later in the index. As
we will see, I was lucky that searching additional name variants was not necessary
in this case.
Viewing the Actual Passenger List
Krebs, Conrad, aged 35
All were from Bavaria.
I printed out the manifest image and typed the names, indicating to the side
the likely relationship. I was pretty certain I had the correct family.
Krebs familyfamily of Margarethe Freund Krebs
With the entire family immigrating, it helped me determine I had the "right"
guy. Having done my homework made the matching process easier. However, there
is one person missing: Peter.
Why Might Peter Not Be Listed with the Rest of the Family?
A search for Peter Freund in the New York passenger list database resulted
in several hits. While I have not yet gone through the entire list results,
one hit might be the guy I need. An entry for a Peter Freund, landing in New
York City on Ferriere on 4 June 1853 appears promising. This Peter is a Bavarian
native. Most interestingly is that listed directly after him is a Peter Hornung,
aged 25. When the Freund family later immigrates, there is a Catherine Hornung
with them who cannot be placed within the Freund family. Is she related to Peter
Hornung and possibly his wife? As usual, further work needs to be done.
Here's What I Need to Do:
Paul Freund was relatively easy to find. Not all immigrants can be located
this easily. However, my search was made easier because outside work was done
before I began searching the passenger lists. In addition to doing the homework
mentioned earlier, here are some additional guidelines to remember when searching
the passenger lists:
Make certain that what you locate on the manifest "fits" what
you already know. If things do not "fit," your reasons should be logical
and typically should not involve miracles, violation of the laws of space and
time, or reincarnation.
In case readers think all searches are this easy, we'll be discussing some
additional examples in the upcoming months. While I don't have any Johan Schmidts
(the equivalent of John Smith) in my background, I do have an adequate supply
of my own problem people.
Some additional reading:
Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is the Web columnist for the FGS FORUM and is on the editorial board of the Illinois State Genealogical Society Quarterly. He conducts seminars and lectures on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry Magazine and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.
Copyright 2003, MyFamily.com. All rights reserved.
Used by the author on his website with permission.
Michael's other articles