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From the Ancestry Daily News  
  Michael John Neill – 12/12/2001

He is On the 1914 Manifest!

Note: Images of Peter's 1914 manifest entry are viewable at

Things are rarely as they actually appear to be.

The 1934 naturalization of Peter Verikios indicated he landed in New York, New York on 22 August 1914 on board the "Themistocles" under the name Panagiotis Verikios. His Declaration of Intention, filed in 1928, indicates he arrived on 20 August 1914 on board the same ship. The "certificate of arrival" from the Immigration Service dated June 21, 1934 agrees with the 22 August 1914 date.

This date is eight years off from the year Peter provides in his 1920 census entry ( where he indicates that his year of immigration was 1906. There are three children living in the household and a 1914 immigration does make it kind of difficult for Peter to be the father of the children listed in the census entry. Further research on the family indicated that Peter was actually the stepfather of the children listed in his 1920 household. I was tempted to "go" with the 1914 immigration date as it was the one listed in the naturalization file. The two-day discrepancy did not seem to be a major problem. The month and the name of the ship were consistent and I should be thankful for that. At this point, I decided the 1906 date could have been a mistake or perhaps an alteration made so that the immigration date did not conflict with the dates of birth for the children. I also decided that it might be easier to lie to the census taker than to the INS!

Armed with specific information, Peter hopefully could be located at the Ellis Island Web site ( ). Locating Peter should have been a piece of cake.

In reality it was a piece of work. The entry was there, but took me time to locate.

A variety of searches at the Ellis Island site, based upon both Peter's "real" and Anglicized name and variant spellings of his surname brought no success. The Ellis Island site did not allow for comprehensive searches based on phonetics, as some sites do. Needless to say I was frustrated. It was time for a break.

A Little Surfing . . .
According to an online copy of the Morton Allen Directory ( the Themistocles arrived in New York City on 23 August 1914. Again the dates were not off enough for me to be extremely concerned. After all, so far I only had secondary sources for the date of the ship's arrival). Using The Ships Encyclopedia ( ), I located some further information on this vessel. However, what I really wanted was the passenger list at the Ellis Island Web Site.

Stephen Morse's Site
I then found Stephen Morse's wonderful site created to help those who have had difficulty using the Ellis Island search interface. Stephen has created several pages to assist those looking for Ellis Island immigrants, either by allowing the user to search differently or go to specific pages of film. It is wise to read through all of Stephen's pages before conducting extensive searches or before assuming someone or something is not at the Ellis Island site. Stephen's site does not maintain the data. It "only" provides an alternative user interface (and a very powerful one too). Please read the Frequently Asked Questions page of the site. It is very detailed and continuously updated.

Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step
This is Stephen's main page and the one I initially used in my attempt to locate Peter Verikios' 1914 immigration. I experimented with a variety of spelling variants and again had no success no matter how "creative" I was in my search configuration. Stephen's site takes the searcher immediately to the Ellis Island Web site. The only thing that Stephen's site does is configure the search for you. I was nearing the end of my rope. While I did not find Peter using this page, I have found other individuals using Stephen's search interface for the Ellis Island site. Stephen's site cannot find what is not there.

However, I realized that Stephen had another page, one that allows the user to "browse" the microfilmed images of the passenger lists on the Ellis Island Site and bypass the search altogether. Since I had the name of the ship and the "date" of the arrival, I decided I would give this method a try.

Finding Missing Manifests in One Step

I really liked this page, but the images from the Ellis Island site will load slowly if your Internet connection is a slow one. The site allows the user to enter a date of landing. The microfilm roll number is automatically determined by Stephen's site. (Users may wish to also view the list of New York immigration microfilm at the National Archives and Records Administration Web site- to see the roll numbers for themselves).

It took some initial guesswork to locate the manifest for the Themosticles, using this approach. The ship had arrived on 22 August 1914. It took some time to scroll through all the pages, but I finally located the entry for Peter Verikios. He was there after all! The landing date concurred with the date on the "Certificate of Arrival" in Peter's naturalization record. There was also a number written on the certificate of arrival, 11-99849. This same number also appeared near the Verikios entry on the manifest and apparently had been written in when the "Certificate of Arrival" had been completed for Peter in 1934. That sealed it.

What Does the Manifest Say?
The manifest lists Peter's Greek name of Panagiotis Verikios, which concurred with materials in the naturalization record. The immigrant was a thirty-year-old worker, born in Kato Exanthia, Greece. His nearest relative was his father, Spiros Verikios living in Kato Exanthia (this father's name also concurred with the father listed on Peter's 1947 death certificate). Peter was destined for Chicago to live with a "friend" George [Verikios?], who lived at 11506 Front Street. Peter had $25 in his pocket. Most interestingly, Peter had lived in Chicago from 1906-13. This date of immigration matches the year that Peter lists in the 1920 census—the one I originally thought was incorrect. Peter had apparently returned home for approximately a year in 1913, not an unusual occurrence.

Where Now?
Of course, there is always more work to be done. Genealogy is, after all, like housework. When there are many children in the house, there's always something that needs doing.

My next job is to locate Peter's 1906 arrival record. It won't be as easy if I can't locate him using his name at Stephen Morris' site. After all, I do not have the name of the boat or an exact date and for now likely won't page through an entire year of passenger manifests via the Internet.

UPDATE: I was able to locate Peter in 1906. An article I wrote for the Ancestry Daily News discusses it more detail how I used the Ellis Island site to locate Peter.

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 and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at: or visit his Web site at: , but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.

Copyright 2001,

used with permission

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