Confusion about Ship's Manifests #general

Natalie & Ernie Hartz

For general interest: This is what I learned >from the feedback jewishgen
members gave me about ship's manifests, in addition to the tips offered in
the JewishGen's info files. Keep these tips in mind when searching.

There are many reasons for people's names to have been crossed off or not
indexed properly. People may have been crossed off if they missed the boat
or if they were listed on another page, for example, not necessarily held
for special inquiry or deported. There may be cousins, named after the same
ancestors, coming >from the same town or another town. They may have married
men and women of the same families. Since they had kids almost every year,
they may have a bunch of kids named the same thing. The practice continued
here in the U.S. as well. (such as my father's 2 brothers) My mother's
generation had 3 Normans, her brother and 2 of her cousins all with the same
first name. Because my grandmother and a sister and a brother had different
last names it helped keep the confusion to a minimum. One worked for NASA as
an engineer, one was a writer and poet, and one was a prominent lawyer. My
gm also named her daughter Lillian and had a sister in law named Lillian, so
the sister in law was referred to as "Lillie Morrises". (Morris's wife
Lillie) So much for names.

A reminder about indexes: These manifests were indexed by volunteers both
for Ellis Island and Ancestry. It is important (as I sometimes forget) to
keep in mind that volunteers are human and these indexes were created by
humans who make errors. The original microfilmed documents have been
digitized and are online and true copies of the originals, but the indexes
are not true copies, so reading everything on the digital copies is
extremely important, as that information can be more accurate than the
indexes, and yield much more information than the indexes provide. I have
begun to be extremely careful when reading these now that I have learned to
look at all markings and notes in addition to the obvious information. Many
times I need to save these images to my computer to look at (and zoom in on)

Also, I've learned that searching other ports may yield more information
because not everyone came through New York. Many came through Boston,
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Canadian Border Crossings. This became apparent
from one relative's naturalization papers, if they can be found. (Women were
not always independently naturalized except through marriage.)

Finally, I liked Sally Bruckheimer's comment in her email to me that
expressed what a challenge it is to try and document our family's personal
history: "You wouldn't like genealogy if it were easy. It would all be done
by now."

And that is true, as it is the challenge and mystery that always draws me in
to these searches. The more I learn, the more curious I become. For me, it
is like Alice in Wonderland, "curiouser and curiouser". I hope these tips on
ship's manifests help the people who are new to this research.

Natalie Hartz
East Windsor NJ

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