Carmack’s guide to immigration research deals with a titanic subject, reduced to its basic elements so you can grasp the fundamentals of immigration research at a glance. In a just a few moments of reading it guides you through the record sources that are the touchstones of immigration research, from passenger lists to naturalization records. Altogether, in less than a handful of pages, it provides an overview of the records that document the most determined and sustained migration the world has ever known. In keeping with the “Genealogy at a Glance” theme, the four specially laminated pages of this work are designed to provide as much useful information in the space allotted as you’ll ever need.
Beginning with a discussion of the background of early immigration, the guide focuses on the importance of determining your ancestor’s time of arrival and port of entry, then goes on to describe the vast body of passenger arrival records deposited originally at the various ports of entry, explaining the numerous details recorded for each passenger, where the records can be found, and how they can be accessed. Where books can be used effectively as a means of access to the records–indexes and passenger lists, for example–they are noted both in the text and in brief citations for further reference. Accessing the passenger arrival lists online, of course, is of growing importance, and the guide describes the principal databases available by subscription and for free.
Most immigrants eventually became naturalized citizens. In the process another huge body of records was created, maintained to this day in various courthouses and town halls, and, for records after 1906, maintained by the agency with current jurisdiction, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. In the two-step procedure–declaration of intention (first papers) and naturalization petition (second or final papers)–a gold mine of personal information was recorded (applicantÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s name, country of birth, date of application, date and port of arrival, occupation, residence, age, birthplace, and date of birth), equal in varying degrees to the later ships’ passenger lists. Clues to finding these records are, of course, provided, along with citations to the best books and online sources, all of which can be read at a glance and used with total confidence.
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