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Monday, November 2, 2009

Problems with early New York Ships Passenger Lists

Cornelia's Question (one of several she asked)
Johannes Weyrauch b. abt 1785 of Scheichen, Rhine Pfalz (old Bavaria) or Alsace m. bef 1814 Germany/Alsace Mary (surname unknown) d. 1848 of Centre Co., Pennsylvania said to arrive in America on 15 May 1831 in New York (naturalization online at USGenWeb Centre Co., PA) not found in Passengers Arriving in New York 1830-1835. unless his surname's been severely mistranscribed

Olive Tree Answer: Dear Cornelia - One of the problems you are having is that the 1830s New York arrivals are missing many records. It is not that they have been missed in transcribing and indexing, it is that they are lost. There are very few that have been found and thus very few are online. My own English ancestors fell into this time and location. I have documents stating that they arrrived in New York in 1831 but they are not on any of the available lists. What I did (and I suggest you do this too) is to browse page by page every single surviving ships passenger list. I used but you can order microfilm or check other online resources.

Another way to make sure you have not missed anything is to use wildcards in your search. Wildcards allow you to replace letters and thus ensure that you have checked variant spellings of a surname. So if you are looking for Johannes Weyrauch on, you can search for Joh* (which will pick up John as well as Johannes) and Wey* which will find all surnames starting with those 3 letters. Then try Way* to cover all your bases.

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