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Ethnic Research

  • They key to most ethnic group research is to identify the immigrants original name and family's home village
  • To become a US citizen involved three steps:
    • 1) Sign a Declaration of Intention,
      • Clues in the Declaration of Intention can point you to your ancestors immigration information, family members and residence.
      2) Petition for Naturalization, and
      3) Take the Oath of Citizenship.
    • To request copies of these records, visit this link.
  • Surnames were often changes during immigration. A free Surname Variation Chart can be found online through Family Tree Magazine.
  • Ancestry has a section for Immigration and Travel
    • From the search drop down box, choose card catalog. You can click the Immigration and Travel link on the left hand side of the page to review the entire collection.
  • Bremen Passenger Lists
  • Visit Castle Garden for immigration records from 1820-1892 (prior to the opening of Ellis Island)
    • Hint: Try using variations of the name and ship's spelling.
  • Cook County Clerk contains searchable database of naturalization records from 1871 - 1929.
  • Ellis Island American Family Immigration History Center
  • Immigration History and Research Center and Archives contains a large database of ethnic newspapers, oral histories and personal papers
    • Hint: Immigrants names were not changed at Ellis Island. Immigration clerks never recorded names, they simply checked against a list filled out at the port of departure
  • Immigrant Ship Records
  • Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930
  • Historical Society of Pennsylvania The Back Institute
    • You are able to search their collection online, but will need to visit in person or order documents to actually view them.
      • Collections span the 17th to the 2th century.
      • Includes family papers, business and organizational records, newspapers, photographs, postcards, etc…
  • The Ship's List
  • Steve Morse contains tools for finding immigration records, census records, vital records, and for dealing with calendars, maps, foreign alphabets, and much more.