Why Did They Go There? #usa #records

Renée K. Carl

In several recent posts, people asked "Why did my ancestors go to [location in USA]?" to which several suggested looking in the records of the Industrial Removal Office (IRO), housed at the AJHS.

Subscribers of Avotaynu will note my IRO article published in the Summer 2021 edition, "Why Did They Go There? Finding Answers in the Industrial Removal Office Records" I'm a bit obsessed about this record set, and the article provides some history and analysis of the program, and describes what you might find in the records, as well as steps to take to access and see them for yourself.

The records of the IRO are a rich source of details about individuals and about small Jewish communities across the USA. Can't find a family member? You still might be able to find out how much that person might have earned in a week, or the cost of housing in 1906 - pieces of information that provide context for the time and place our ancestors lived.

I hope the article, and this on-going discussion, will help people find out more!

Renée Carl
Washington DC