Friday, 12 September 2014

Did any of your relatives pass through Ellis Island?

When I saw that on Mondays with Myrt on 8th September 2014 one of the topics to be discussed was the updated website for Ellis Island I did not expect to find anyone on the website from my family. 
After all my family, apart from one aunt, have always lived in England.

I have deep roots in England and most of my family can be found in just a few counties in the south of the country.
Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire are where they lived with a few exceptions.
So given this they would appear to be the type of people who liked to stay close to home.
However they did migrate within England, family in Dorset and Wiltshire moved to Hampshire.
Some, in more recent times, also travelled further afield (one aunt emigrated after marrying an american soldier after WW2).

Southampton, my hometown, is one of the major UK ports.
More about its history can be found here .

Living in a major port unsuprisingly some of my family had connections to the maritime trade. 
Some have visited places far across the seas as serving members of the merchant navy. 
My grandfather worked for the Royal Mail Steamship Company and travelled to South America. 
I also know that my uncle worked on the passenger liners, as I have in my possession his discharge books. 
What I had not realized is that now the records go up to the 1950's. He frequently sailed between Southampton and New York in the period now covered by the records.

So I entered his initial and surname, narrowed the search by first name and found him entering Ellis Island on the ship Queen Elizabeth. 
Because there was an index, below the image of the ships manifest, I noticed another person with the same surname. 
This second individual is a good match for my grandfather's brother as the first name and year of birth match and he is a British national.

If you want to try out the new passenger search here is the link 

You may be surprised and one of your family may have been recorded before it close 60 years ago.

I have also found my aunt and 2 of her children but they may not have actually passed through Ellis Island as this was in 1956.

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