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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Finding an ancestor on a Ships Passenger List in 1906

Arnold's Question:
My Great-Uncle Ralph Marovitch traveled to Quebec, Canada from Latvia allegedly in 1906. I have a document, that my great-uncle received from the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1923, that someone has hand written on the side that my great-uncle arrived in Quebec in October of 1906 on a ship of the Allen Line. There are at least 11 different variations of the surname that my great-uncle could have used on his passenger-ship manifest; Maerovitz, Mairowitz, marovitch, Marovitz, Meirovitch, Meyeroniz, Meyerovitch, Meyerovitz, Mayrowitch, Meyerowitz and Myerovitz. There are at least two other variations of his given name that he could have used; Ralf and Raphael.

I have already used the databases for both the LAC and FindMyPast.com with no luck! I even tried searching through the passenger ship manifest, from the LAC database, for many of the ship's of the Allen Line that arrived in Quebec in 1906. However, many of these passenger-ship manifest are damaged and very difficult to read!

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Arnold. You have quite a challenge given the variety of spellings for your great uncle's names. However you can use wildcards to help or you can eliminate his names and use other details - year of birth (which you did not provide in your email), birth location and so on. I do not know where he settled in Canada as you did not provide that detail but you may want to find Ralph in the 1911 census.

I had a scurry around the 'net to find more details on him (luckily you posted information on anothre site) and I am sure that he is the man found as "M. R. Marowitz" born August 1885 in Russia, occupation Chef with wife Minnie and daughter Sarah in the 1911 census for Montreal Quebec. He does state that he immigrated in 1906 but you can't trust that completely, as immigration years are often mis-remembered. So it's wise to add a couple of years on either side when searching.

I used Ancestry.com for the census record for 1911 but you can also seach AutomatedGenealogy

Did Ralph naturalize? If he did, you mght want to search the online Naturalization Records at LAC Be sure to use their wildcard feature to search for the names.

These may all help you find Ralph on a Ships Passenger List. You may also want to extend your search to the American ports of arrival if you cannot find him on a Canadian list.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, my Geat-Uncle Ralf Mayrovitch became a naturalized Canadian on February 26,1915, his file number is 13670. The 1911 census record that you found is correct for my aunt Minnie, uncle Ralf and cousin Sarah.

    I believe I located an 85% possible passenger ship record for my great-uncle. I located a Raphael Myerra on the Sept 6, 1906 voyage of the SS Ionian that arrived in Quebec on Sept 15, 1906. His age is correct on the passenger ship record and his listing as a Russian Jew is correct. This passenger arrived late on sailing day, as the purser had already alphabetized and hand wrote all 601 passengers and then had to enter two late boarding 3rd class passengers. Raphael is listed on page 8 , entry number 25.

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