Re: Declaring ethnicity of Ellis Island passengers #general


Always go back to the original document, if you can.

In the case of the Ellis Island manifests, you
can and should, view the actual images of the
manifest pages. And there you will see that the
information was completed on the form itself,
which means that it was required by the American
authorities, and filled in by an authorized
representative of the shipping company, whether a
clerk at the port of embarkation, or a ship's
officer. (I believe the captain or first officer
had to sign them.)

They are mostly accurate, at least for the
entries for arrivals >from Rhodes that I've looked
at, but I have come across quite a few that are
not. (My wife's aunt, for example, is listed as
"Greek" and "Orthodox", rather than "Hebrew" or
"Italian" or "Turkish", even though the entries
immediately preceding and following hers seem to
be correct - she was travelling with other people
from the same place. It's unclear whether the
person writing skipped a line on the rather wide
sheet of paper, or whether the passenger herself
gave that information; as it was, she was
travelling under a married name that, I think,
she wasn't to acquire until she arrived in

....... tom klein, toronto

Alexander Woodle <> wrote:

When one does a search for Ellis Island passengers whether
using Steve MorseĆ­s One-Step pages or the Ellis Island website,
what criteria were used to determine whether someone was Jewish
or not?

In earlier passages, manifests had a "nationality" category,
yet the "Passenger Record" will say "Hebrew", even though there
is no indication of ethnicity declared on the manifest.

Later manifests added race or people as a category and some
declared they were Hebrews.

Was there additional information? Was an ethnicity declared
based upon the surname by the volunteers when these records
were compiled?

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