Re: What documents did Jewish immigrants need to enter the U.S. around 1900? #general


Judith Singer
 

Hi all - since I posed this question originally, I am pleased now to
be able to answer it, having gotten some guidance elsewhere:

I was correct that U.S. law did not require any documents >from the
passengers to enter the U,S, around 1900. The need for documents arose
at the beginning of the voyage in Europe, when an emigrant was
purchasing the ticket or boarding the ship. U.S. immigration law
required that each ship complete a form listing all passengers heading
in America. The passenger list or manifest included not only the
passenger's name but also Information such as age, sex, occupation,
place of most recent residence, intended destination, port of
embarkation, amount of cash being carried (to prove the passenger was
not destitute) and the name, address and relationship of the person
meeting the passenger at his eventual destination (to make sure the
immigrant would not become a public charge). Each sheet of the form
was numbered and each had thirty numbered lines.

Identification documents had to be given to the shipping agent or
clerk preparing the list before one's name would be entered. * That *
was why my grandfather needed new papers in someone else's name.

After the name and information was entered, as each steerage class
passenger boarded the ship, he was issued a name tag with the name
that appeared on the manifest, the number of the manifest page and the
number of the line on the page where the person appeared.

The manifest was given to U.S. immigration officials on the ship's
arrival. Each steerage class passenger had his or her name tag checked
against the information on the manifest as part of the immigration
processing.

Judith Singer

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