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Friday, April 2, 2010

Meaning of Markings on Ships' Passenger List

Millie's question:
I am researching my great-grandfather,JANOS HEIMLICH. On Oct. 4,1899 he picked up his son Emanuel Heimlich at EllisIsland. He arrived on the ship Werra from Bremen, Germany. They resided in Hungary. Emanuel was 9 yrs. 6mos. old. The manifest said pick up by father, residence would be New York.
That is the only information that I have. I can't find anything more. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Have you found your ancestor in census records after his arrival?

The 1900, 1910 ,1920 and 1930 census identify citizenship status, with notations showing the individual was an Alien,or had started the Naturalization process or had his final papers.

You can read more about the value of census records in your search for an immigrant ancestor at

Have you found Emanual's Naturalization Records?

I took a look at the online manifest. You didn't mention the notation beside Emanuel's name - in the occupation column. Perhaps you didn't realize it had any meaning. It does

In 1926 verification clerks began to record the verification (record check) and naturalization certification activity on each passenger list record. The annotations may be found on any passenger list, before or after 1926, but they will all relate to naturalization activity occurring in 1926 or later.

In Emanuel's case, the markings are a bit hidden but appear to read

3X-16023 2/4/34 [it is the /34 that is questionable]

The "X" means Emanuel did not have to pay the Certificate of Arrival fee. He was exempt because he arrived before 1906.He would be issued a Certificate of Landing. The numbers 16023 are the application number, the 3 before the X is the district number. The second group of numbers is the verification date.

You can read about Manifest Markings and their meanings(plus refer to a District Number decoder) at

There is an explanation and Resource Guide to Naturalization Records at

Good luck, don't despair, you have more information than you realize

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