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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Finding an Ancestor on Ships Passenger Lists to New York

Margaret's question was:
How can I find the ships list for JOSEPH MAYER, B: 1826 Bavaria Germany? I think the ship left LE HARVE middle of Jly 1852 to New York..He Married VICTORIA SAYWICK, B: Germany.later part of Jly 1852, in Cleveland Ohio, He D: 1878 Pettis County Mo.. His name has variations:: MAYER, MAYR,MYERS, MAYR; CIVIL WAR,, 1880 census,, MAYR,, 1860 Iowa Census,, MYERS. VICTORIA, has variations: SAYWICK, PAWICK, PAVICK. . Looking for this families ship list is next to impossible. I can't even find anything on their son JOHN WILLIAM,, B: Iowa, 1856, he dissapeard 1878 , no one heard from him.. It,s like he didn't exist...Iv'e looked every where for months, with no luck... I'm at a dead end

Olive Tree Answer: Margaret, you have some good details on your ancestor. It's not clear what your source is for thinking your ancestor sailed from Le Havre in 1852 for New York, but we'll go with that. You can get New York ships passenger lists on microfilm or online on Both NARA & LDS have films with the New York passenger lists.

Ships are on the reels in order of date of arrival, so all you need to do is find the film number that has your arrival date on it. Then order it in to a nearby Family History Centre, or request a lookup from NARA.

When you get the film, scroll through to find your date but if your ship isn't there, be sure to check more thoroughly on the film - the lists aren't always exactly in chronological order. Here is a complete list of film numbers for ships (and passenger lists) going to New York after 1820 has indexed those New York Ships Passenger Lists and that will be much easier for you. But remember that you have to be creative in your search. You have listed several varations of the surname, so use those. But also make use of wildcards in the search engine.

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