Re: Passenger arrival records #usa #general


Mort makes an important point about the opportunity for errors during transcription.  I would only add that there were multiple opportunities for such errors and that might make the problem worse in some cases.  

From the late 19th c. through to World War I, the name given when purchasing the steamship ticket was the name captured on ticket-sale documents.  Those were then forwarded to the steamship line at the port of departure, places like Hamburg, Germany, or Havre, France, or Southampton, England, where the name was transcribed from the ticket-seller's return onto a manifest form.  That transcription happened at least once and could happen multiple times in the manifest-preparation process.  Each transcription was an opportunity for error.

Then a century or more later the data was transcribed from the lists (now often on faded microfilm) again to create our searchable online indices.  This transcription again opened the door to possible errors, but might also further mangle a name already erroneously transcribed long ago.  

Given this game of telephone in creating the records and indices I'm often amazed at the quality of most of the data.

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