Seeking info on Jakoba Giermana/Giarznana

The latter surname was crossed out. I have his passport and some details:

1.he was born in Biała Podlaska in 1904

2. Ethnically Jewish

3. He emigrated to the US in 1920, reaching it on July 8th.

When I searched up his name on the Ellis Island finder, nothing popped up. Is there anywhere else where I can find his immigration records? Also, his passport was in Polish and French, so I don’t know if that is important or not.

  • The only person that I can find who seems to come close is a Y/Jakow Gersh GERMAN  who was born on 23 Jun 1904 in Biala Podlaska as the son of Chaim GERMAN and Chaja Rivka NUCHOWICZ (Birth: (#71))

    This guy seems to arrive with various family members in 1920 (via Canada):
    Canada arrival:
    US arrival:  (continued on next page) - FYI His father’s name is now Hyman, but apparently this was an anglicized version of Chaim.

  • Hi Gabriel,

    If and that's an "if" he came through Ellis Island, then in your case my feeling is that the ship manifest may have been degraded before the Latter Day Saints in the 1990s did the name index for Ellis Island. not only did the manifests but also the detention pages... so if Jakob was detained, he should appear on the Ancestry index even if not on Ellis Island database.  By 1950s the manifests were destroyed.  There are some other ways of searching.... for the **original** ship manifest.  First, you seem to have a specific date of arrival at Ellis Island... you could go to: and enter the arrival date... that will take you using the search button to a number of ships arriving on July 9, 1920, and "supplemental manifests" which I think are fragments of manifests.  You can see the port that the ships came out of.... assuming he came out of either Rotterdam or London (two ships on the list)..... check the passport to see if there is a stamp from either of those ports.  The ship list will get you to the manifests and you might see a degraded line, missing a name, that matches what you know about Jakoba.  Second, the WPA from the **original** manifests in late 1930s, early 1940s did  a card  index of names.  The cards are on line at: (  But the way the cards are arranged by Ancestry is quirky.  See my YouTube Video on this technique (and many others including searching on who they were going to): "Finding Difficult Passengers on the Ellis Island Manifests" at:   I searched the WPA card index for soundex G625 and G655 (films 8880201 and 8880209 at FamilySearch) without success.... the ...201 film at image 14402 of 24567 where I expected Jakoba and for ...209 film about 22800 or so.  Third, you could search on "book" indexes"  (see my youtube film on this subject).... but searches on Jakoba (exact) and last name Giermana yielded no results, and Jakoba and exact Giermana also no results.  You might want to fool around with that index and look at the 153 results  to see if anything jumps out.  Finally, given my negative searches, how sure are you he arrived at Ellis Island??  Not all immigrants went that route.  Is there an immigration stamp for Ellis Island/New York Harbor in his passport??  Where did you get the arrival date from????

  • As mentioned by the others, he might have entered through ports of entry other than Ellis Island.  

    Do you happen to know if he naturalized?  If he did, then his naturalization paperwork may include a certificate of arrival stating where and when he arrived.

    Also, did he live in Ohio and did he ever go by Jacob of Jack German?  I found the following on a Family Tree on Ancestry that looks like it might be a match.  

    Jack German in the U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995


    Thank you for posting your question on History Hub!

    The web page Browse Available Records by Port of Entry provides a list of ports of entry from this time period for which there are records. In addition, we suggest that you review the information and resources available on the National Archives website, including Immigrant Records at the National Archives, Immigration Records, and Passenger Arrival Records. We also suggest that you review the History Hub blogs Passenger Arrival Records at the National Archives, Passenger Arrival List Research Tips, and Immigration and Naturalization Records: Where are they?.

    Some of the arrival records have been digitized and are available online using the National Archives Catalog. Please note that these records are usually NOT name searchable using the National Archives Catalog. Others are available from sites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, which often provide an option for searching by name. The “Browse by Port of Entry” page provides links to Catalog descriptions and digitized records. Please note that there may be a fee for using Ancestry. You may wish to check for access at your local, state, and university libraries, since many library systems subscribe to genealogical sites and make them free for their patrons to access.  FamilySearch may be used with a free account.

    If he naturalized, information about his arrival into the United States may be noted in his naturalization records.  Beginning September 27, 1906, the responsibility for naturalization proceedings was transferred to the Federal courts. It took time for the lower courts to let go of the practice, so researchers may need to look at lower courts if the National Archives does not maintain a record of naturalization from the early-mid 20th century.

    In general, naturalization was a two-step process* that took a minimum of five years. After residing in the United States for two years, an alien could file a "declaration of intention" ("first papers") to become a citizen. After three additional years, the alien could "petition for naturalization" (”second papers”). After the petition was granted, a certificate of citizenship was issued to the alien. These two steps did not have to take place in the same court.  [*Exceptions can include cases of derivative citizenship, processes for minor aliens 1824-1906, and special consideration for veterans.]

    If a naturalization took place in a Federal court, naturalization indexes, declarations of intention (with any accompanying certificates of arrival), and petitions for naturalization will usually be in the National Archives facility serving the state in which the Federal court is located. No central index exists. To ensure a successful request with the National Archives, your email should include: the name of petitioner (including known variants); date of birth; approximate date of entry to the US; approximate date of naturalization; where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state); and country of origin.

    In most cases, the National Archives will not have a copy of the certificate of citizenship. Two copies of the certificate were created – one given to the petitioner as proof of citizenship, and one forwarded to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). All INS records are now overseen by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS maintains duplicate copies of court records (including the certificate of citizenship) created from September 27, 1906 through March 31, 1956 within Certificate Files (C-Files). Beginning on April 1, 1956, INS began filing all naturalization records in a subject’s Alien File (A-File). C-Files and certain A-Files may be requested through the USCIS Genealogy Program

    We hope this assists you with your research! 


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