Re: New Find Raises Questions about Family Name: #poland #names

Joel Weintraub

"What paperwork did US Immigration issue to arriving passengers?"

I can think of a few documents that immigrants could have possessed after they came through Ellis Island. The first two were not issued by US Immigration authorities.  The first was the "Inspection Card" issued by the shipping company which showed the immigrant had been vaccinated (stamped on the back), and the ship surgeon had seen the immigrant during the voyage.  It shows on the back "Keep this Card to avoid detention at Quarantine and on Railroads in the United States".  It is stamped on the front by a U.S. Public Health Service official at the port of disembarkment, and again by a US Public Service official at Ellis Island (or perhaps aboard the ship in NY Harbor when they were preliminary/first inspected).  The Inspection Card shows the name of the immigrant, ship/shipping company, manifest page and line number, and port the ship left from and the date of the voyage.  The second document was the landing tag or "ticket" as it was initially called that showed the immigrant's name, ship, arrival date, and manifest sheet and line number of the immigrant which they were required to pin to their clothing  Those were rarely saved and I've seen only a few examples of the tags... I have some in my collection.  Inspection cards are more common and often are sold on online auction sites.   Once US Consulates abroad starting in the 1920s took over some of the functions of the US Immigration stations, an immigrant may have gone to the consulate and filled out a "Declaration" in order to get a visa.  They might also have had to provide the consulate with a "Affidavit in Support of Application for Visa" by someone in the U.S. who promised to support the individual.  I have in my collection a Declaration and an Affidavit in Support so these may have been retained by immigrants and were notarized/stamped/show postage-like stamps that indicated fees were paid.  Other than these, the ship manifest provided some proof of arrival although of course the immigrant didn't get a copy of it for future documentation of their entry into the U.S.but they could have gotten a "Certificate of Arrival" during their naturalization process in the U.S.  An Ellis Island list created at Ellis Island was the detention lists and special inquiry lists that again, were not given to the immigrants to keep.  I once saw some sort of tag on an auction site from Ellis Island that facillitated movement of immigrants between stations and identified their status within the island, but I was outbid on that early material which went for a high price.  If others have other documents (aside from passports and visas, I would like to know about them.
Joel Weintraub
Dana Point, CA

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