Are Your Ancestors from Ireland, Germany, Italy, or Russia?
– Raymond S. Wright III, Ph.D., AG
The Famine Immigrants, Lists of Irish Immigrants, Germans to America, Italians to America, The Migration from the Russian Empire–would these titles interest family historians and genealogists? They should. At least fifty percent of Americans alive today can trace at least one ancestor to Ireland, Germany, Italy, or Russia. And finding immigrant ancestors today is easier than it was two decades ago. Two factors make this so: the computer age, and the efforts of Dr. Ira Glazier and his associates at the Temple University-Balch Institute Center for Immigration Studies in Philadelphia.
Dr. Glazier and other immigration scholars recognized that to study how immigration affected peoples’ lives, they needed data about large numbers of immigrants. Before World War II most persons immigrating to America came by ship. Ships’ captains arriving in America after 1819 had to identify all passengers and crew to port authorities. The resulting lists of arriving immigrants provide access to the types of information historians, sociologists, and demographers seek: gender, ages, occupations, country or region of origin, traveling status (alone or with family). These post—1820 passenger lists were turned over to the National Archives of the United States. Click to Continue Article