6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 29, 2021 1:50 PM by Jim Davis

    Seeking meaning of numbers used in Index

    Jim Davis Wayfarer

      In the series "Index to Alien Arrivals at Canadian Atlantic and Pacific Seaports" (NAID 3000080) in Record Group 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service provides information in index form.  A typical record would read this way:

      Ritchie - Jemima - 18-474-1911  -or-

      Ritchie - Jemima - 22-206-1911.


      I believe the numbers 1911 refer to the year of the index item. Can anyone please tell me what the other numbers mean, i.e., what is the meaning of 18-474-1911?  If they refer to a full record set, I'd love to peruse those records for more information.  Thanks very much for your assistance!

        • Re: Seeking meaning of numbers used in Index
          Susannah Brooks Ranger

          The first number is the person's age.  I don't know what the second number represents.  This is the passenger list with Jemina Ritchie's  (18-474-1911) arrival Ancestry.com - Canada, Arriving Passengers Lists, 1865-1935   She is #13 and indexed on Ancestry as "Jemina Ritcher."  This is her departure from Liverpool Ancestry.com - UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

          • Re: Seeking meaning of numbers used in Index
            Josette Schluter Navigator

            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub.


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Index to Alien Arrivals at Canadian Atlantic and Pacific Seaports in the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004 (Record Group 85). Under the Scope and content section of the Catalog record is the following description: The year of arrival in the U.S. is noted at the top and the card number is in the upper right corner. Each entry typically indicates the person's name, age (ages of children under a year are given as months, such as 6m), and then a number that appears to be a page number.


            Under the Function and Use note there is a brief description of what these records may have been used for, but unfortunately the note mentions that NARA has not been able to identify the specific records that these were intended to index. For more information about these records, please email the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) at archives1reference@nara.gov.


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            We hope that this information was helpful.


            • Re: Seeking meaning of numbers used in Index
              m smith Wayfarer

              Hi Jim,


              I fear my answer to your question will only lead to more questions I cannot answer, but here goes:


              The index you refer to, "Index to Alien Arrivals at Canadian Atlantic and Pacific Seaports" (NAID 3000080) in Record Group 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, was created by the US Immigration Service office in Montreal to index their ship passenger lists.  These were ships arriving at Canadian ports but carrying and manifesting passengers destined to the US.  The lists were forwarded from the ports to Montreal monthly, where they were filed by month and date.  Each ship manifest was given an identifying number (I think they probably started with #1 again at the beginning of each year).


              As you note, the cards list the passenger's name followed by three numbers.  The first number is the passenger's age given on the list, the second is the ship number, the third is the year of arrival.  Some cards in that index have the year at top of the card, so on those cards names are followed by only two numbers.


              I figured out that ship #206 (your second example) is the LAURENTIC, arrived Quebec May 13 or 14, 1911.  There are two lists for that ship's arrival:

              1. the Canadian Government's list, which should list all passengers on the ship--though it may have less detail for those destined to the US.  Jemima Ritchie, age 22, is found on that list destined to Montreal, Canada.  (I found it on Ancestry.com ($) here.
              2. the US Government list, which should only list passengers destined to the US.  I cannot find Jemima on this list (but why would I if she weren't destined to the US at that time?). 


              I found another passenger on that list for the LAURENTIC arriving May 14, 1911, L. (or Laurence or Lawrence) CORBRIDGE.  He is listed on the Canadian list as destined to the US.  He is listed on the US list, as he should be.  And he also appears in the card index showing arrival in 1911 on ship #206. 


              So you are left with the question of why this Jemima is indexed in the US index if she is not on the US list.  She may have been entered into the records later, but I cannot find her on any other US record of border admissions.  Perhaps if there were an alternate name, but that was not provided.


              We are all left with the question of how to use this index when we have no key to the ship numbers.  I'm going to keep chewing on that.


              Marian Smith