Re: Records for Ellis Island deportations #records


I’ve been thinking about your question for a long time, wondering how to answer in a simple way.  This is my long-winded attempt:
Several of the replies below have good information that helps.  For example, David stressed the importance of examining the List of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry to look for clues, and includes the caveat that “only a few BSI hearing records survive.”  That is true.  Only cases where the decision of the Board of Special Inquiry was appealed survive.
But when I went to look at the BSI List for your Ettel and Riwke Rand, I saw a big clue—a stamp (upside down) saying “HOLD ON APPEAL.”  So there was an appeal in their case.  If that file survives it should be at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  But it cannot be requested without a file number.
Another reply came from Wendy, who was able to obtain just such a file from NARA after obtaining information from USCIS.  My guess is USCIS searched their internal index upon Wendy’s request and replied by providing her the file number needed for NARA to locate the file.  But can we find Ettel Rand’s file number without asking USCIS?  In many cases, yes.
First, I searched the INS Subject Correspondence index 1906-1957 (T458), now searchable by name on here.  I searched by name (Rand, R*nd, etc.) and found nothing.  I was unable to search on the cause of exclusion (health condition) because we didn’t know what ailed her/them.  I searched the ship name (RYNDAM, RJINDAM, etc.) and learned the first card for that ship is dated May 1908.  So your Rand case seems to be too early for the INS Subject Index/T458.
So second, I searched the INS Name Index ca. 1893-1932, which actually dates ca. 1898-1903 with some as late as 1911.  This index is made of two parts (two indexes, really) and ONE part is digitized and searchable in the NARA online catalog here.  But again, I could not find any reference to Ettel or Riwke Rand.  [The other half/other index is digitized and being indexed by NARA staff, who are working hard.  Perhaps those cards cover the time period you need?  Time will tell.]
Not giving up, I went back to the December 1907 RYNDAM passenger list, specifically to the BSI lists at the end, and looked for other passengers who were deported or might have had an appeal.  Usually, if I can find a few other cases from the same ship I can find at least one of those names in the INS Subject Index or the Name Index (both discussed above).  The reason I do so is because all the appeal cases from New York (or any other port) were forwarded in batches (or bunches) to Washington, DC.  In Washington, INS typically assigned all the files in a batch with consecutive numbers.  Thus if I can find another case from that day I can identify a file number very close to the one I seek.  Usually.
In this case I could not find any of the names of deported passengers from the RYNDAM.  So I searched for ships before and after, first from the same day, then a day before and day after.  Still no luck.  What I learned is there is a gap in the indices from late 1907 to early 1908.  I do not know why.  I assume the files are there but are not indexed by anything publicly available.
There is a good chance USCIS could find the reference in their Master Index and provide you the needed number.  Sadly that means a USCIS Genealogy Program Index Search Request ($65).  If you submit a request to USCIS, include a note or comment that you especially want them to look for “an archives card.”
Marian Smith
p.s.  I did have one other idea, but it would not provide the needed appeal file number.  Correspondence FROM Ellis Island from 1903 to 1912 survives (tissue copies) at NARA in Washington, DC, catalog record here.  It is filed chronologically with many letters outgoing each day, including the cover letters transmitting appeals to Washington.  The first hearing in Ettel’s case was Dec 11th, something was withdrawn Dec. 17th, and deportation took place Jan 7th.  Searching these would require starting at December 11, 1907 and reading forward (for maybe a week?) looking for the letter naming Ettel Rand.  The letter itself would be boilerplate and, as I said, would not provide the file number needed.  But it would give a good idea of the date when the file was opened in Washington (1 or 2 days after the date of the Ellis Island letter).

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