Help with NYC Record of Aliens Help for Special Inquiry #lithuania #records



I need assistance with deciphering a Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry, N.Y. City.

SS Pennsylvania, Jan. 17, 1903.
Was he sent back?  Are there other records I can pursue to find out more? 


The detailed alien was Itzke Rubenstein and he is number 118 on this list from


Thanks so much,

Lynn Dumenil

David Oseas

It appears that he was allowed to stay.  Note that it says "Appeal sustained" under Orders column and the Deported columns are blank.

You may want to check the INS Name Index (1893-1932) on the NARA catalog site ( ).  If his name appears, then NARA has some additional correspondence.  However, if his name does not appear, that doesn't rule out that some additional documentation exists -- the index covers only appeals to Washington, DC, and is not yet complete.

David Oseas


David is again correct that the next step is to consult that INS Name Index to immigration correspondence, and Lynn’s question gives me the chance to talk about that index (and this process) in a little more detail.  And at the end there is a file number for Lynn 


When I read Lynn’s question I first went to search the INS Subject Index on Ancestry, since a small fraction of references in that index go back to 1903.  Of course I had no luck.  As a rule, the appeal cases from ships like the SS PENNSYLVANIA don’t show up there until ca. 1906-08.


The index to check for earlier dates is the name index David mentioned, the [INS] Name Index [to early immigration correspondence], ca. 1893 - ca. 1932 (  The problem is that date span, 1893-1932, which is misleading.  The Name Index has a few references back to 1900, and some as late as 1912, but the core of it covers 1903 to 1906-08 (when the indexing of such cases shifted to the Subject Index discussed above).  But Lynn’s immigrant arrived in 1903, so he should be in the Name Index, right?


I searched the portion of the Name Index already online (the 1st alphabet is complete, the 2nd is in progress, 600+ entries loaded so far).  I found none of the three immigrants listed on Lynn’s BSI page who filed appeals (Salomon Friedman, Moszko Sohall, and Itzke Rubenstein).  I figured either they were indexed with a different spelling of the name, or the index does not go back as far in time as I believed.


At this point I turned to some data I received from NARA about the Name Index project, from their initial inventory of files.  That data was/is destined to go through several verifications before it can be loaded in the catalog.  There, I found all three—two with alternate spellings.  So I went back to the online Name Index in the catalog and searched the alternate spellings.  Still, no luck.


As always, the explanation is in the dates.  The “function and use” notes for the Name Index catalog entry (4709010) indicates the Name Index begins with file number 38000.  Some additional research reveals file number 38000 relates to May 1903.  Thus the dates for the name index should be “May 1903 to ca. 1912.”  Where does that leave Lynn, whose immigrant arrived in January 1903?


Happily in this case I found all three from her BSI page, including Itzke, in that preliminary data (note all numbers are below 38000):







Soholl, Moszko



Reubenstein, Itzke



Friedman, Salomon


So, Lynn needs file # 34943, in Box 137 of the series "Letters Received, 1882 - 1906" (NAID 1564919)  Whether Archives I is accepting email reference requests, or how/when one could get an appointment to request it in person, is beyond me.  But that’s her citation for whenever the dam breaks.  


To review:  The INS “Letters Received” (NAID 1564919) cover the years 1882-1906 and are available for research when NARA is open.  The problem is finding an index to those files.  Currently there are several indices that cover different time spans:

·      INS Subject Index, ca. 1906-1957.  NAID 4490783 / Searchable on Ancestry at

·      INS Name Index, May 1903-ca. 1912.  NAID 4709010 / 1st alphabet searchable in NARA Catalog

·      Registers of Letters Received, 7/12/1891 - 9/11/1903, NAID 1561313.  Not digitized, available only at Archives I.  This register should include Lynn’s immigrant and the other two on her BSI page.  The problem is the registers are only inside the Archives I building.


That said, things are getting better:

·      That data NARA is verifying will continue make its way into the searchable catalog, eventually describing every file in that series for all dates.  The NARA-created index to all surviving files will be an accurate representation of all available files.

·      The old indexes and registers will continue to reveal files that may not survive, at least not within their original series, or perhaps indexed differently.


Marian Smith


Many thanks to David and Marian. Marian’s legwork made it possible!  I sent an email to NARA in the afternoon and the next morning received the scan from a very efficient archivist.  The letter describes the young daughter of the detainee, Itzke Rubenstein.  I am pretty sure he is her stepfather and the daughter was my husband’s beloved mother Lily. Thanks,
lynn dumenil



I am looking to find more information about the deportation of great Uncle Abe Isrelsky in 1909.  He went before a Special Inquiry and actually deported.  I can't find any records of his situation in NARA.  He eventually did make it back to the United States.  With the links below can anyone help me find more information about his case.

Let me know if you need more information

New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. “ (  Arrival of Isrelsky Family on November 17, 1909 aboard the Zeeland. Son Abe was deported because of curvature of the spine.  His birthplace is listed as Nur, Russia and is last known residence as Nier, Russia. 

Also  ( Records of Aliens Kept for Special Inquiry Pessche Isrelsky b 1879, Chaje Isrelsky b 1898, Beile Isrelsky b 1900, Abram Isrelsky b 1902, Schmuel Isrelsky b 1905. 



Jay Filan