JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Certificate of Arrival Manifest Numbers #general

Joel Weintraub

There has been a recent thread about Certificate of Arrivals and the
Certificate number on the ship manifest. In 1906 the U.S. changed their
naturalization laws and required naturalization applicants to prove legal
entry into the United States. To do that, ship records were searched and
Certificate of Arrivals were issued to document the process.

To avoid fraud on the part of the clerks doing the lookups, starting in
1926 notations were added to the ship manifest showing that a
Certificate was issued (or that a search had occurred and a
certificate was denied) on the name line of the applicant.

Thus if your ancestor became a citizen before 1926, it is
unlikely the ship manifest will show that a Certificate was issued.
JewishGen has an InfoFile on "A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List
Annotations" by Marian Smith that should help interpret this, and other
manifest notations.

To document my research that much destruction of the manifests occurred >from
about 1940 (when the Alien Registration act was started and record numbers
of immigrants started the naturalization process leading to increased stress
on the manifest pages) to 1943-1944 (when the manifests were photographed
where the fragile pages had to be removed >from their bindings to be
photographed), I looked at the Certificate of Arrival information shown on
manifest scans (manifests were destroyed in 1948) >from the ships Sicilia
(1907) and Grosser Kurfurst (1908) (my great grandfather and my
grandmother's ships).

I found that Certificate type numbers could be seen on the lines, but
the first ones that showed any date of the process started in 1933.
Let me emphasize that. Notations often have the date that the
search was done, but that only appeared on notations starting in 1933.

As an aside, to show the pressure on the manifests (and thus possible
destruction of the pages), here are the total Certificate numbers I found
from the two ships versus the year shown after the Certificate number:
1933:3, 1934:8, 1935:14, 1936:19, 1937:13, 1938:17, 1939:22, 1940:42,
1941:39, 1942:12, 1943:6, also showing the impact of the start of World War
II on the immigrant population of the U.S.

Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA

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