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Old 04-30-2012, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,776 posts, read 10,791,244 times
Reputation: 11434

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I recently began researching family for my aunt who is the daughter of my grandmother and my step-grandfather. It's been a real adventure! I already have a ton of info on my grandmother's family but only knew the most recent things about grandad's family. Some of the research has been rather frustrating but it's amazing what's out there.

I found my aunt's great grandmother by putting her name into Google. She was born in Germany in 1826 and diedin Chicago in 1913 but I have yet to find her parents or spouse. He isn't even listed in her death record. I wondered when they came to America and finally found that. They came in 1883 and since Ellis Island wasn't opened till 1892 I can only assume they came through Castle Garden. I also found their last name listed with three different spellings.

My aunt's grandparents married in 1883, the same year they came here but whether they married in Germany or the US I'm not sure. I wondered, though, why their first child was born in Indiana rather than Illinois like the rest of them. Seems they had family in Indiana so that must've been their first stop. The next child was born in Illinois in 1885 so they didn't stay in Indiana very long.

The census records have been 'some' help but some of the sites I've been trying to use haven't been. The LDS family history site has changed their format and it find it MUCH harder to find info than the old format. People I found easily before aren't even on there anymore! I've found more info on Find A Grave then I have on other sites. Even Google has been more help than the LDS site. Anyone else have any problems with that site??

One thing that makes it tough to do German research is that, it seems, they ALL had the same names! And three or four of them to boot! I put my aunt's great grandmother's name in, along with all the info I have on her, and got over 14,400 names!! I did go through about 27 pages and gave up! You would think, with all the info I put in, it would narrow it down a tad.

Anyway...just thought I'd throw this out there and see if I can get any suggestions from you guys. Some websites that don't charge an arm and leg, maybe??
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,759 posts, read 15,664,887 times
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LDS has been a big help for me - what are you having trouble with? Try going into your nearest LDS Family History Center, they should be able to help you out and you'll have access to more records on microfilm - not all their stuff is transcribed onto the internet.

Try looking for websites with records for the specific areas you're searching in. Historical Societies, churches, newspapers, etc. The Library of Congress has newspapers from some states: Historic American Newspapers - Chronicling America (The Library of Congress) but for example, if you're searching in PA, this can be helpful too: Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository : Advanced Search
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
6,413 posts, read 11,212,805 times
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First, I've had no problem with the FamilySearch site. Lots of good stuff. Much better good stuff than what they had on their "old" site, when it was pretty much just the bad tree information and the IGI. Now there are lots of vital records, etc.

As for your German immigrant ... you cannot assume that they came through Castle Garden. Or even through Ellis Island, had they come later. There were many other ports of entry. They may even have come through Canada. Germans I've researched who "appeared" in the midwest came in through New Orleans.

Also, Germans usually had a christening name, their "first" name. They rarely used it, and several (or even all) the children in the family might have used the same christening name.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:14 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,776 posts, read 10,791,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
LDS has been a big help for me - what are you having trouble with? Try going into your nearest LDS Family History Center, they should be able to help you out and you'll have access to more records on microfilm - not all their stuff is transcribed onto the internet.

Try looking for websites with records for the specific areas you're searching in. Historical Societies, churches, newspapers, etc. The Library of Congress has newspapers from some states: Historic American Newspapers - Chronicling America (The Library of Congress) but for example, if you're searching in PA, this can be helpful too: Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository : Advanced Search
I guess what I'm having 'trouble with' is the fact that if I enter a LOT of info it should narrow the search down a LOT. It doesn't. I can see it if I have scanty info. But having to go through over 14,000 names...well, it just seems like overkill. Also, info that I've found before, and know for SURE it was there, I'm now getting a 'can't be found'. Why would they not have it now when they did have it before?

No, not researching PA. None of the family was ever there.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:19 PM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,776 posts, read 10,791,244 times
Reputation: 11434
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnricoV View Post
First, I've had no problem with the FamilySearch site. Lots of good stuff. Much better good stuff than what they had on their "old" site, when it was pretty much just the bad tree information and the IGI. Now there are lots of vital records, etc.

As for your German immigrant ... you cannot assume that they came through Castle Garden. Or even through Ellis Island, had they come later. There were many other ports of entry. They may even have come through Canada. Germans I've researched who "appeared" in the midwest came in through New Orleans.

Also, Germans usually had a christening name, their "first" name. They rarely used it, and several (or even all) the children in the family might have used the same christening name.
I agree...there's a LOT of info on that site. It just seems harder to find than it used to be.

The reason I "assume" they came through Castle Garden is because the records show they shipped from Hamburg to NY. Was there another port of entry in NY? I know Ellis Island wasn't opened till 1892 so they didn't come through that port. They definitely didn't come through New Orleans. I did find the family of my aunt's grandmother that came in 1883 also, and the ship, but can't remember it at the moment. Also from Hamburg to NY. If her great grandmother and grandparents were on that ship I haven't found it.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:30 PM
 
2,990 posts, read 5,156,203 times
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Try searching Castle Garden passengers at www.stevemorse.org

Ancestry.com is also great for manifests. Ancestry is a subscriber site, but many libraries offer free access to Ancestry.com on their computers.
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:09 AM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
9,759 posts, read 15,664,887 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post
I guess what I'm having 'trouble with' is the fact that if I enter a LOT of info it should narrow the search down a LOT. It doesn't. I can see it if I have scanty info. But having to go through over 14,000 names...well, it just seems like overkill. Also, info that I've found before, and know for SURE it was there, I'm now getting a 'can't be found'. Why would they not have it now when they did have it before?
I typically narrow down my search field by collection rather than enter lots of info on the individual. I try to keep the individual info vague in case I'm not 100% sure on exact dates or places. I then select different collections to search in. Also, I'm using Google Chrome browser and there is an extension which takes details from my Ancestry.com tree and plugs it into FamilySearch.org automatically. This is really helpful since I don't have to manually plug most of the info into the search.

Quote:
No, not researching PA. None of the family was ever there.
Okay, but it was just an example of other sources you can sometimes find for regional areas.

Enrico is right that you can't assume they came through Castle Garden - there are other ports of entry into the country - since I have a long PA family history, many of my ancestors came into the country via Philly. Never make assumptions in genealogy - checking out hunches or clues is good but don't get stuck in assumptions because if you're wrong, you'll spend forever looking in the wrong place.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,776 posts, read 10,791,244 times
Reputation: 11434
Quote:
Originally Posted by daliowa View Post
Try searching Castle Garden passengers at www.stevemorse.org

Ancestry.com is also great for manifests. Ancestry is a subscriber site, but many libraries offer free access to Ancestry.com on their computers.
Thank you for that website!! I found my aunt's grandfather. He arrived in NY (Castle Garden) on Dec. 21, 1883 on the ship Rhaetia.
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:47 AM
 
Location: Verde Valley AZ
8,776 posts, read 10,791,244 times
Reputation: 11434
Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
I typically narrow down my search field by collection rather than enter lots of info on the individual. I try to keep the individual info vague in case I'm not 100% sure on exact dates or places. I then select different collections to search in. Also, I'm using Google Chrome browser and there is an extension which takes details from my Ancestry.com tree and plugs it into FamilySearch.org automatically. This is really helpful since I don't have to manually plug most of the info into the search.



Okay, but it was just an example of other sources you can sometimes find for regional areas.

Enrico is right that you can't assume they came through Castle Garden - there are other ports of entry into the country - since I have a long PA family history, many of my ancestors came into the country via Philly. Never make assumptions in genealogy - checking out hunches or clues is good but don't get stuck in assumptions because if you're wrong, you'll spend forever looking in the wrong place.
I've tried that too. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

I truly appreciate all the suggestions and advice! Thank you.

I found my aunt's grandfather and they DID come through Castle Garden.

I actually DO have ancestors that were in PA. My grandmother's family. I'm still not sure how they ended up there from New England though. I try not to "assume" anything. I've been doing research for 25+ years now and I learned that lesson the hard way long ago. lol
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:31 PM
 
2,990 posts, read 5,156,203 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZDesertBrat View Post
Thank you for that website!! I found my aunt's grandfather. He arrived in NY (Castle Garden) on Dec. 21, 1883 on the ship Rhaetia.
Great !

I wish those pre-1900 manifests had more info on them though.
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