This is a weblog about genealogy in and about the State of Ohio. It will feature news and views (mostly mine) about developments of interest to genealogists doing research in Ohio, no matter where they reside.--Wally Huskonen

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ancestry offers powerful search of passenger records

If you have been looking for an immigrant arrival, you should try the free search offered by Ancestry.com until the end of the month.

Here is what Ancestry says about its new collection:

“This is the first time such a comprehensive collection of passenger lists has been made available online, with more than 100 million names from over 100 ports. We’re celebrating this announcement by giving you FREE ACCESS to the Ancestry.com Immigration Collection through December 31st.”

Go to http://landing.ancestry.com/immigration/main/default.aspx

Here is why I am recommending you try this: My grandmother and four children arrived in 1903. I know because I have the page from NARA. I have not been able to find their listing on the Ellis Island website, and I now know why.

The transcriber entered their surname as Hunskanan, and I can understand why when I look at the handwritten entry on the passenger list page. On the Ancestry website, I was able to enter my grandmother’s first name, Ida, her year of birth, 1863, the date of arrival, 1903, the ship’s name, Aurania, and the port of entry, New York. I did not enter a surname.

There she was, the first search result, Ida Hunskanen. Clicking on the link to the image gave me the page, with her listing and her four children (my aunts and an uncle). Note that this surname transcription differs from the Ellis Island transcription.

Obviously, the search engine on Ancestry.com is more powerful and flexible than the Ellis Island search engine (remember I didn’t use a surname when trying to find my grandma), especially when you get into the “refine your search” feature, and I think it works even better than the Steve Morse search engine (www.stevemorse.org).

Good luck in your immigrant searches.