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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Searching for Ships Passenger List leads to Passport Records

Jane asked about a ships passenger list for an ancestor but her question led to some interesting details in passport applications:

Found naturalization papers for my grandfather, Harry Belmont (b 1868), indicating he came to New York in 1880 aboard the ship Earnwell orErnwell from the port of Marseille. Can find no record of this ship arriving. does have the ship listing with a few dates, but not 1880.


You have to be cautious with immigration years. They are
very often misremembered. When your grandfather naturalized,
it was not required that there be a check (verification) of
the dates he gave. So he could be in error.

See for more info on
naturalization records in the USA

I did a little looking for you and found some interesting data. If I have the right Harry Belmont, in one census year he claims to have immigrated in 1883 so you can see how the years can differ. in the census he says he is a waiter, born France.

Your grandfather also applied for Emergency passports in
both 1892 and 1897. These are found on

On 6 May 1892 he stated that he was currently living in Vienna and needed a passport. He further states he arrived from Marseilles in Ny in 1880 (no name of ship given) and lived for 10 years in NY. He says he was naturalized 5 Sept 1890 in NY and that he left the USA on 6 Feb 1891 on board the Earnwell (?) and landed in Marseilles 17 April 1891. So here we have evidence that the ship was leaving New York for Marseilles, not the other way around, UNLESS he happened to sail on the same ship first time over to USA.

I say first time bcause he goes on to say that he lived in France and Russia since Apr 17 /91 and is currently in Vienna but intends to return to USA within 2 years to take up permanent residence

There is more, you should access this to see the whole document (it's on ). It gives a precise place of birth, his occupation (steward) and a physical description

He applied again on 14 Sept 1897 stating he is living temporarily in Vienna. It is basically the same immigration info - again, there is no ship name, just arriving in NY in 1880. He references his leaving NY on the Earnwill/Ernwell in 1891 landing in Marseilles in April that year. Now he says he is a clerk. You can access the complete document on

I hope this helps a bit, I am not convinced he arrived in 1880 on the Ship Earnwell or Ernwill, so if I were you I'd search under his name for any ship arriving that year (and perhaps a year on either side)

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