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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Scrutinize Your Sources Carefully Before Accepting Them as Set in Stone!

Mike asked:
I've been trying to find the ship my Great Grandparents arrived on and have been unsuccessful to date. I've checked Castle Garden and Ancestry both and come up empty.

My Great Grandparents, William and Mary Carey, were married in Ireland on Feb. 25, 1865 and arrived in this Country in either March or April of 1865. This is based on the 1900 Census Record, his Death Certificate, Obituary, the birth of their first son, which was in Jan 1866.

The only William Carey I found that could possibly have been him was on the Tripoli in 1866, but that was too late and no Mary was mentioned.

OLIVE TREE ANSWER: Hi Mike. You've written a good query except for one detail - what country your ancestors came to! You say "this country" but I don't know if that is USA or Canada. I'm kind of assuming it's New York because you mention checking Castle Garden.....

With that in mind (New York) you should be able to find a passenger list for the ship he arrived on. I'm sure you know already that ships passenger lists to USA were archived from 1820 on.

So, let's look at what you have:

You say they arrived together but perhaps they came separately. Mary coming first isn't as likely as her husband arriving first and her following but it's a possibility.

You have given your sources for their immigration date and that's good except I do want to point out that you can't believe the census year exactly. You always need to allow a year or two on either side, as folks often did not recall exactly what year it was when the arrived.

Death Certificates and Obituaries are only as good as the person submitting the information! So you always have to ask yourself - did the informant know the correct details? Did the informant understand the question being asked?

So taking all that into consideration it's my belief that the only reliable source you have is that January 1866 birth - and the only person who had to be present for that was the mother!

So I'd go back to if I were you and I'd search all ports (not just New York) in the range 1865-1867 and see what pops up. Also, search Canadian ports of arrival as the fare from Ireland to Canada was much cheaper than to USA and often immigrants arrived via Canada then went on to their final destination.

Also be sure to be creative in your search as the surname Carey might be spelled a variety of ways. A few that come to mind are Carrey, Cary, Carry, Carie, Carrie, Karey and so on.

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