The Great Migration — #Genealogy #Ships #Immigration

by C. Michael Eliasz-Solomon

Stanczyk thinks that the remainder of 2017 will be about working with distant cousins and on immigration, particularly what I can get from NARA/USCIS.

So today lets examine the immigration paths during the Great Migration (1880-1920, EUROPEAN IMMIGRATION: 1880-1920), when some 20 Million immigrants legally immigrated to the US. This is not to be confused with the waves of African American migration within the USA.

Today's map is of origin 1853 and comes from the US Library of Congress:

The reason for this map is it shows the predominant ports of entry and the ocean paths from Old World to New World. If you look at the departure date and the arrival date of typical ship manifests of this era, the journey took about two weeks.

While many American families arrived through Ellis Island it was not the only port. It operated from 1892-1954 and admitted 12 Million immigrants many who became US citizens. Since 1965 roughly two-thirds of immigrants became naturalized citizens. Since 2000, slightly less than half became citizens.

Before Ellis Island there was Castle Garden. Besides NYC, we see Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore,…, over to New Orleans as ports of immigration. Yet in all this we have not yet mentioned the immigrants who migrated to Canadian ports then later cross the border into the USA. Polonia did utilize all of these make sure you search all ports of entry!

There were Polonia at Jamestown (so roughly 410 years in America). Kosciuszko and Pulaski fought for the colonials in the American Revolutionary War. There were Poles who fought on both sides of The US Civil War. So Polish immigrant to America has a longer history than the Great Migration but those are future topics for this blog.

Today study the above maps, learn the ports of entry, learn about ship manifests / border crossings, passports, deportations, declarations of intent, petitions for naturalization. All of these US documents related to migration will guide you to your ancestral parish/synagogue/temple.

There are other means too but those too are future columns. Learn about NARA (the US National Archives) too. Also I posted the map from the Library of Congress which you should utilize in your research online & in person (same as NARA). Still there many multiples more data at libraries & archives then are online. Book up genealogists! 📚


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