Re: Finding Cities of Origin #general

Sherri Bobish

I sent this message to Stephen's email, but I received a message
back that he doesn't allow incoming messages.


Unfortunately passenger manifests >from that time period are unlikely
to answer your questions.

Here are a few ideas that have worked for me in finding the name of
the town of birth for immigrant ancestors.

U.S. marriage certs for any ancestor not born here.

U.S. birth certs for children of the original immigants.

U.S. death cert for any ancestor not born here. However, death cert
info is one of the most unreliable data sources due to people
answering questions at a time of great stress, and it being second-
hand data.

Military records, i.e. WWI draft cards for any ancestor not born here.

If any original immigrant was born 1870 or later and was living in the
mid-1903's you can obtain their SS5 (original Social Security
application) which asked for town of birth.

If you know the cemetery you can call the cem office and ask if they
are with a landsmanshaftn (burial society.) Many of these societies
are shtetl-based. Note that people did belong to and were buried with
societies >from other towns due to many variable reasons, so although
this could be a clue more research would be required to prove.

I have seen wills (probate files) where people left something to a
relative back in Poland, etc. For obvious reasons I have only seen
this in wills probated prior to circa 1940.

If anyone was naturalized post-1906 (when the process was federalized
and standardized) the naturalization file will list town of birth. It
is unlikely that a pre-1906 nat will list more than country name, but
it did vary court-to-court and is worth obtaining.


Sherri Bobish
Princeton, NJ

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