1 Reply Latest reply on Feb 10, 2020 1:22 PM by Lisha Penn

    Seeking details of great-great-grandfather's immigration to US


      I know that my great-great-grandfather arrived in the US from Germany in 1850 and would subsequently serve in the 7th New York Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. I'm trying to find out what ship he may have arrived on (I assume he arrived in New York) and on what date. Also looking for any naturalization records, marriage certificate. I've already found him in the census of 1880, along with his wife and seven children and then again in 1900 when he petitioned for an increase in his military pension and when he was listed as a widower and residing in a military hospital in Maine. I'd also like to be able to find out anything I can about my great-great-grandmother who came from Ireland (I assume around the same time and as a result of the famine).

        • Re: Seeking details of great-great-grandfather's immigration to US
          Lisha Penn Navigator

          Dear Mr. Velten,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We suggest that you review these Genealogy: Passenger Arrival List Research Tips and not limit your search efforts to only the New York port. There are numerous ways that individuals could enter the United States from Europe such as via a ship to a larger number of coastal ports or over land from Canada, etc. Ship passenger arrival lists were a requirement beginning in 1820, but that does not guarantee that person was recorded or that the list still exists. Many of the passenger lists have been digitized and are name-searchable online at Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org. Keeping records of border crossings from Canada were not required in the mid-1800s. Therefore, if your great-great grandfather entered the U.S. via Canada, there may not be documentation of his crossing.


          Based on the time frame when any naturalization may have occurred, it is unlikely that the Declaration or Petition of Intention will provide the entry details the researcher is seeking. Pre-1906 naturalization records often include few biographical details, capturing only name and country of origin in some cases. If the naturalization took place prior to September 1906, it could have occurred at any "court of record" (municipal, county, state, or Federal). Often petitioners went to the court most geographically convenient for them. As a general rule, the NARA does not have naturalization records created in state or local courts. However, a few indexes and records have been donated to the NARA from counties, states, and local courts. Researchers may contact the National Archives facility serving the state in which the petitioner resided to determine if records from lower courts are available. Records from state and local courts are often at state archives or county historical societies.

          To ensure a successful request with the NARA include:

          • Name of petitioner (including known variants)
          • date of birth
          • Approximate date of entry to the United States        
          • Approximate date of naturalization
          • Where the individual was residing at the time of naturalization (city/county/state)
          • Country of origin


          Please recheck the 1900 census to determine what is recorded in the citizenship column for your great-great grandfather. His Civil War service/pension records may provide additional clues.


          Lastly, we suggest that you check the Irish immigration data available on NARA’s Access to Archival Databases List of Series - Genealogy/ Personal History: Passenger Lists


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


          [Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]