Monday, March 13, 2006

READER'S FEEDBACK: Coping with Destruction of Bremen Passenger Lists

I always enjoy your newsletters but I read with special eager interest your article on "ACROSS MY DESK: Coping with Destruction of Bremen Passenger Lists" and how the American passenger arrival records were created. My grandfather Andrew (Andreas), then aged 14 years came over to NY the year before Ellis Island opened and started keeping records (1891?). He celebrated his 14 birthday in July aboard a ship. After arriving in NY he stayed for a short time with his sister Barbara Graf and her family in Ridgewood (I think) and then with his brother George who had a barber shop in Brooklyn or Middle Village, NY.

Grandpa slept on a cot in a storage room and earned his keep by keeping the shop clean and swept until he was able to find a paying job. One of the jobs he had was helping to build the army barracks and years later used that knowledge and skill to build a home for his wife Anna (Bauersfeld) and their family on 70th Avenue in Glendale, just across the street from the cemetery and railroad tracks. We loved that little house, built next to a warehouse and Rickter's Dental Manufacturing Company where my dad worked for 17 years.

I have often wanted to learn the name of the ship grandpa came over on and see a copy of the ships manifest but have been unable to do so. This is why I was so eager to learn that the information I was seeking, might finally be within my reach. My question to you is this:

-- Where can I find the Customs Passenger Lists for after 1871 for New York as stated in your newsletter & referenced below? It appeared the records for 1820-1897 were available, but the timeline of the four volumes ends with the year 1871. Weren't the 1872-1897 years ever completed or did I misunderstand the article?

Thanks for your help and all the interesting articles and information.

A faithful reader,

THANK-YOU for writing! The book series described in my column is published by They're getting so close to your ancestor's range of years for arrival, but I don't think the book series will include this.

Looks like you'll want to access the CASTLE GARDEN records or the BARGE OFFICE records, which predate the opening of Ellis Island as a processing point for immigrants through New York. While may have the info you seek, I prefer to look at this (and the Ellis Island website) through

Steve defines the Pre-Ellis Island arrival records into the following classifications:
1851 to 1855: pre Castle Garden
1855 to 1890: Castle Garden
1890 to 1891: Barge Office

His site can also help you understand how to order a copy of the microfilm that contains the passenger record.

“ACROSS MY DESK: Coping with Destruction of Bremen Passenger Lists”

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

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