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Immigrant Tips

Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor aninew4a.gif (3635 bytes)

We Can Help

Identifying where and when your immigrant ancestor came to the United States or to the American colonies is one of the most rewarding aspects of genealogical research.  Most everyone is eager to find their immigrant ancestor's place of origin.  It is a daunting task to many genealogists who do not have ready access to a major records archives to find their ancestor's origin. 

The First Step

To successfully locate the region from which your ancestor emigrated in Europe, we must fully identify your ancestor in all available records in which he or she is inscribed in the United States.   It is important that we find all records that document your ancestor's:

  • Exact and Full Name
    It is necessary to account for ethnicity name variants (i.e.: Joseph Greene, an Italian immigrant, will likely be found in passenger lists as Guiseppe Verdi) and/or formal name changes (i.e.: many Eastern European immigrants shorted or changed their surname upon entry into the United States).
  • Vital Records Dates and Family Relationships
    Birth, death and marriage records, upon availability, should be obtained as these records often identify the immigrant's parent's names or they provide sufficient specific dates and places of birth that will allow positive identification of the immigrant in International records.
  • Immigration Date
    Census records, naturalization records and sometimes family histories will list a specific date of immigration and a port of entry into the United States.  Naturalization records after June 1906, are extraordinarily helpful because they contain a large amount of genealogical material. The Family History library has volumes and volumes of these very important records.
  • A History of the Immigrant's Life in America
    Tracing the immigrant and his family in census records, court records, naturalization records, vital records, military records and county histories, etc. allow us to develop a "history" of your immigrant that will reveal his or her occupation, any relatives in the United States, naming patterns of his or her children, and a host of other important details.  You can assist us in this step by carefully reviewing any records that you may have at home.

The Next Step

After the above steps have been completed, we would then begin searching European records for your ancestors.

The Family History Library holds a wealth of records for Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Norway, Sweden, countries of the former Soviet Union, and many more. We will be happy to help you locate the origins of your immigrant ancestor.

NCGR has access to several important 20th century resources such as:

  • World War I Draft Registrations.
  • Canadian Border Crossings.
  • Naturalization Records.
  • Passenger lists for most large United States ports.
  • Various military service records and pension records.
  • Social Security Death Index.

NCGR also has access to many major collections of foreign passenger lists including:

  • Baden, Germany, emigration index, (1866-1911)
  • Bergen, Norway (1874-1924)
  • Copenhagen, Denmark (1868-1911)
  • Goteburg, Sweden (1869-1951)
  • Hamburg, Germany (1850-1934)
  • Oslo, Norway (1867-1902)
  • Stockholm, Sweden (1869-1919)
  • Victoria, Australia (1852-1924)

Ready to Find Out More?

Read updated information on this service, the fees, and how to get started here.




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Copyright 1998-2009 Natalie Cottrill
Last 06 Apr 2009
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