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There Was More Than One Way?

Happy Immigrant Heritage Month! This special celebration “aims to honor and recognize the contributions and diverse cultures of immigrants to the country. The designation of Immigrant Heritage Month began in 2014, when former President Barack Obama issued a presidential proclamation establishing June as National Immigrant Heritage Month.”

Image of Ellis Island

Did you know that immigrants arrived to the United States through a variety of ports? While Ellis Island is the most well-known port of entry, its precursor (Castle Garden) also welcomed folks to the county, and in the west, Angel Island welcomed others to the shores of California between 1910 and 1940. There are countless others as well, including Baltimore, Boston, Galveston, Miami, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. Immigrants from certain regions and countries may have chosen one port over another. Some ships and captains had agreements with certain ports as well. All that to say, your immigrant ancestors may have arrived in this country through many different ports. (If you are interested in learning more, you may want to check out Forgotten Doors: The Other Ports of Entry to the United States by Mark Stolarik.)

Image of Immigrants with a ShipThankfully, there are records for many of these ports. Depending upon the date of their arrival, these records may be sparse, and the amount of detail may vary, similar to the U.S. Census. Looking for passenger lists and ship manifests is a great place to start. Naturalizations records are a good next step. Then, you may want to look at the ports of departure and the countries from which they emigrated, as they may also have records and other information. The Immigrant Ancestors Project and They Came in Ships may be a helpful resources for additional research.

While there are many records available online, you may want to explore our print collection, which includes actual record transcriptions as well as tips for looking elsewhere. Many of these resources are grouped by county and/or ethnicity.

Image of Book Cover for Visiting Your Ancestral TownIf you find yourself experiencing a bit of wanderlust or a yearning to visit your ancestral homelands, check out these tips for traveling. Heritage travel/tourism has become quite popular, and in addition to feeling connected to your ancestors in new ways, you may be able to access additional records on site. Sometimes, this is the only way to get this information. Take time to prepare by doing your research in advance though!

Happy researching (and/or traveling)!

Categories: Genealogy

Tags: Genealogy

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