Tips from the Pros: Read the Entire Manifest, by Michael John Neill

Genealogists are encouraged to always look a few names before and after their ancestor’s name on a manifest to determine if other family members immigrated on the same ship as the located relative. Sometimes names may not be as close as you think.
Anna G. Fecht is listed as entry number 100 on the “Main,” which landed on 8 March 1879. Ninety names away from hers is the name of Harm Alberts Fecht, her nephew. If I had looked at only nearby names, I would have missed this reference. Of course, I could have located the entry for Harm by searching in Ancestry’s index, but genealogists sometimes forget to look for all related surnames, and occasionally names are difficult to read and get mis-transcribed. Even if you do not find names of actual relatives you may notice last names of neighbors of your ancestor. These are names that one does not usually think to search for.
Even families can get split on a manifest. I have seen entries where the grandma was travelling with a married child and that child’s children. For some reason the parents and one child were listed quite a few names away from Grandma and their other children. It usually takes only a few minutes to scan the other names on a manifest and the “extra” name(s) you find may make it worth your while.

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2 thoughts on “Tips from the Pros: Read the Entire Manifest, by Michael John Neill

  1. My great grandfather’s brother was born in 1840, the same year the family came to America. Some census listed his birthplace as Missouri and some as Illinois. When I saw the microfilm of the manifest I found him at the very end with the notation “born at sea”. The transcribers of the ‘Germans to America’ book had overlooked him when they took the names from the manifest.

  2. I found my great grandfather and family on the Castle Garden index – he arrived in Baltimore. If I didn’t go through the entire ships manifest I would have missed his father, his sister and her family and his future second wife with her son…for some reason the rest were not showing on any index.

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