JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen What documents did Jewish immigrants need to enter the U.S. around 1900? #general

Judith Singer

I have asked a similar question previously, but I will now make it
broader: what identification or other documents, if any, would a
Russian Jewish immigrant have needed to enter the U.S. around 1900?

I have seen dozens of references to documents immigrants carried, but
in fact, according to my research of U.S.immigration laws and as
confirmed by a historian at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
Services, between 1897 and 1914, there were * no * documents required to
enter, only the listing of the immigrant's name on the ship's
passenger manifest. Descriptions of the processing of immigrants at
Ellis Island contain no mention of the examination of documents.

My particular interest in this question stems >from wondering why my
grandfather has a very different name >from his brothers. Family lore
states that he left Russia illegally, as so many did, then went to
England, where a family friend gave him identification documents in
the name of Woolf. This was the name my grandfather used when entering
the U.S. and for the next 60+ years of his life. But why would
identification documents have been needed?

Am I wrong about the documentation needed to enter the U.S.? If not,
why the many references to documents immigrants carried? Does anyone
know if the United Kingdom required an exit visa or other
documentation to leave the country at that time?

Thank you - Judith Singer

searching CHARNY/CZARNY and SORTMAN in Lithuania and Poland

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