Friday, July 28, 2006

Recently Added Naturalization Records Indexes

The following links were recently added to: Online Searchable Naturalization Indexes ...

- Jefferson County: Surname Index to Jefferson County, AL Naturalization Records 1887-1911 (includes Birmingham)

- Madera County Naturalization Records - has 20th Century (1907 and later) Declarations of Intent & Petitions for Citizenship (some gaps)

- Douglas County: Index of Declaration of Intention for Citizenship 1871-1938
- La Plata County: Durango Naturalization Records Indexes

- Cedar County Naturalization Records

New Jersey
- Atlantic County Immigration Index - Mostly Declarations of Intention - includes digitized images

New York
- Eastern District Court of New York Naturalization Project 1865-1956 (work in progress/not complete) indexes naturalization records of Eastern District NY Courts including Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Richmond (Staten Island), Nassau & Suffolk Counties.

North Dakota
- Name Index to North Dakota Naturalization Records for federal courts - U.S. District and U.S. Circuit Courts, District of North Dakota

South Dakota
- Name Index to Naturalization Records from Dakota Territory and South Dakota... most listings are for federal courts

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Ellis Island? Castle Garden? Which One? And When?

From August 1855 to 1924, millions of new arrivals to New York City went through an immigration processing center. The most famous New York immigration centers are Ellis Island and Castle Garden. The least famous is likely the Barge Office, which was used briefly just prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, and again following a fire on Ellis Island in 1897, which destroyed the buildings there. When the new buildings were completed in 1900 Ellis Island again became New York's immigration center.

Here's a simple timeline for when New York's immigrant processing centers were operating:

Prior to August 1, 1855 ... No central processing center
August 1, 1855 - April 18, 1890 ... Castle Garden
April 19, 1890 - December 31, 1891 ... Barge Office
January 1, 1892 - June 14, 1897 ... Ellis Island
June 15, 1897 - December 16, 1900 .... Barge Office
December 17, 1900 - 1924 .... Ellis Island

On July 1, 1924 a new law went into effect which stated that immigrants were to be inspected at US consular offices in the immigrant's home country before coming to the US. Ellis Island continued to be used as an alien detention center until November 1954. The first person to be processed at Ellis Island in 1892 was a 15-year-old Irish girl, Annie Moore. The last Ellis Island detainee was a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen.

Four Ellis Island ImmigrantsThe Barge Office was located on the southeastern tip of Manhattan. Castle Garden, now called Castle Clinton National Monument, was located on a small island just off the southwestern tip. Later landfill has attached the island to Manhattan. Castle Clinton National Monument serves as a visitor information center for New York's National Parks and Monuments. You can also purchase tickets there for ferry trips to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

The passenger ships to New York didn't actually land at Ellis Island -- they landed at Manhattan and the passengers were ferried over to the island for processing. Generally only steerage passengers went to Ellis Island for inspection. Most of the first and second class passengers were allowed to leave the ship soon after docking. All passengers, however, were (or should have been) listed on the ship manifest (or passenger list).

The Ellis Island fire of the night of June 14, 1897 also destroyed some Ellis Island administrative records and the New York immigration passenger lists. However, separate New York customs passenger lists were kept elsewhere (at the Customs House), and they have survived. So ship passenger lists for the early Ellis Island period (1892-June 1897) are available for research along with the rest of the New York passenger lists, beginning with 1820. These passenger records were later microfilmed by the National Archives (customs lists 1820-mid June, 1897), and the INS (immigration lists mid June, 1897-July 3, 1957), who gave the master copies to the National Archives. Over time many indexes and finding aids have been created to help locate individual immigrants on these lists. For information on finding New York passenger lists see...

New York Passenger Lists Quick Guide 1820-1957

For help with other ports...

Thanks to INS/USCIS historian, Marian Smith, for her help with this article.

Photograph from: Library of Congress - Selected Images of Ellis Island and Immigration, ca. 1880-1920.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Annie Moore - Ellis Island's First Immigrant

New York's Ellis Island opened as an immigrant processing center on January 1, 1892. The first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island was a 15-year-old Irish girl named Annie Moore. Her ship, the SS Nevada, arrived in New York from Liverpool, England and Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland on December 31, 1891. Annie and her two siblings went to Ellis Island by ferry the next day.

You can see a scan of Annie Moore's passenger list (ship manifest) at the Ellis Island Website - you may have to log in or register (free) to view the manifest. Annie is passenger #2 on the list. Her siblings, Anthony and Phillip are passengers 3 and 4.

Annie Moore's Story in the New York Times
The New York Times ran a story about the opening of Ellis Island and Annie Moore on January 2, 1892. You can read an excerpt from this article at: Annie Moore, First Ellis Island Immigrant - in the New York Times

Ellis Island? Castle Garden? Which One? And When?
Here's an article about New York's three immigration centers: New York's Immigration Centers - Ellis Island, Castle Garden and the Barge Office

For more information on Annie Moore see: Found: the Real Ellis Island Annie Moore

Friday, July 14, 2006

Florida Marriage Records Indexes now at Ancestry

Ancestry has added a Florida marriage records database to their collection of US genealogy records. The database includes a Florida marriage index from 1927-2001 and a marriage index for various Florida counties from 1822-1875. Ancestry subscribers can access this database at: Florida Marriage Records Collection, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Civil War Pension & Service Records - Tips for Finding Them

This article was updated on 6 September 2011.

This article has tips for obtaining service and pension records for your Civil War ancestor, beginning with some online indexes. Copies of these records can usually be ordered by mail. Some service records and most Confederate pension files are also available on microfilm.

Civil War Records Indexes on the Internet
Not all Civil War records are indexed online, but there are many helpful starting points.

For online indexes to some Civil War service records, pension records, veterans census schedules, rosters of soldiers, and prisoners of war see: Online Civil War Indexes, Records & Rosters

To find a Civil War service record you will need to know the soldier's name, allegiance (Union or Confederate), and the regiment and state (example: 10th Missouri Infantry). You can usually find this information in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System Online Database.

Civil War Pension Records - Union
Most (but not all) Union soldiers or their widows (or other dependents) applied for and received a pension. Civil War pension records for Union soldiers are held by the National Archives, and can be ordered online or by mail from them for a fee. For information see...
Civil War Pension Records - Confederate
Confederate soldiers or their widows usually were only able to apply for a pension if the soldier was disabled or indigent (poverty-stricken). This varied by state. These records are held by a state archives (where the soldier was living at the time he applied for the pension) or similar repository. You can find a list of links to indexes of Confederate pension records for Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia at this website: Civil War Pension Records

For information on pension records for the other Confederate states not listed above see... Confederate Civil War Pension Records

Also, the LDS Family History Library has Civil War pension files on microfilm for all states that offered Confederate pensions except Louisiana.

Civil War Service Records - Union and Confederate
The National Archives has compiled service records for most volunteer Union soldiers and Confederate officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted men. Some of the records have been microfilmed (these are organized by state). The microfilmed records are available at the National Archives and some of its branches, and at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. For a guide to ordering these records or finding them on microfilm see... Civil War Service Records Research Guide

Union and Confederate Service Records Online at Fold3 (formerly Footnote)
Fold3 has Confederate service records for Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia; and Union service records for Alabama, Arkansas, Dakota, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Colored Troops. (Some of these individual state databases are not yet complete.) You can download digitized copies of these records for a fee. See: Civil War Service Records at Fold3 (formerly Footnote)

Note: these suggestions may not work for everyone who fought in the Civil War for a variety of reasons. And be sure to try alternate spellings when using indexes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

New Additions - Online Death Indexes

The following links were recently added to Online Searchable Death Indexes and Records ...

- Placer County: Index to Deaths 1852-1885 from the Placer Herald Newspaper, Auburn, California

- African American Cemeteries and Obituaries - includes about 80,000 entries for Chattahoochee, Harris, Marion, Muscogee, Schley, and Sumter counties in Georgia and Russell County, Alabama

- Wayne County Cemeteries - scanned pages from the Wayne County, Kentucky Cemeteries book

- Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts - Jewish Burials Search (55,000 entries)
- Plymouth County: Town of Middleboro Vital Records Index 1649-1945 (downloadable PDF files) also has cemetery listings and other records

- Isabella County: Chippewa River District Library Obituary Finder

- St. Louis: New Mt. Sinai Cemetery Jewish Burials 1850-Oct 2004 (downloadable PDF files)

New York
Monroe County...
- Rochester Public Library Life Records Database - indexes death notices from City of Rochester newspapers 1960-2006; also has birth & marriage notices
Queens County...
- Mount Hebron Jewish Cemetery Burials
- Mount Carmel Jewish Cemetery Burials
- Mount Zion Jewish Cemetery Burials
St. Lawrence County Cemeteries & Other Records

- MOLO Obituary Index - includes obituaries from newspapers in Ashland County (Loudonville), Coshocton County, Holmes County and Stark County (Massillon)

- Fayette County Genealogy Project (includes cemetery records - cemetery database has about 50,000 entries)
- Lawrence County: New Castle Public Library Marriage & Obituary Database

- Salt Lake County: Bingham City Cemetery Burials