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The American Family Immigration History Center™
April 17, 2001 11:46 AM   Subscribe

The American Family Immigration History Center™ will use state-of-the-art interactive computer technology to bring the immigration records on ancestors who came to the USA as long as a century ago to one's fingertips. The data is being taken directly from the ships' passenger manifests, which are currently on microfilm at the National Archives and Records Administration. To be completed in Spring 2001.
posted by frednorman (6 comments total)

 
Maybe I can find out how my great-grandparents from Sweden named Andersen were given the name Smith. (We suspect a customs official with a sense of humor: "Too many Andersens in the US!")

Interestingly, much of the genealogical assistance is coming from the Mormons, who have vested religious interests in determining peoples' ancestors (in their church, they canonize the dead, hence the name Latter-Day Saints).
posted by dhartung at 12:05 PM on April 17, 2001


A relative caught up in building a family tree (no: not a Bush) used the Mormon materials Dhartung refers to and had much success.

A visit to Ellis Island, restored fairly recently, with a side trip to the Stature of Liberty is one of the moving experiences I have had.
posted by Postroad at 12:29 PM on April 17, 2001


Hey cool, I heard about this on NPR this morning, but they didn't give the URL. An amazing statistic they gave during the broadcast: 40% of Americans can trace at least one ancestor who arrived via Ellis Island.
posted by megnut at 1:51 PM on April 17, 2001


I read about this in the Chicago Tribune today, and checked it out - was going to post a link, but frednorman beat me to it.

I was under the impression that the site was supposed to be up and functioning today, but unfortunately, that's not the case.

But why is it that such an incredible resource must suffer from such a poor design? I would happily do the site for free, and I bet there are many other designers (perhaps more talented) who would do the same.
posted by aladfar at 2:18 PM on April 17, 2001


aldafar: why is it that such an incredible resource must suffer from such a poor design?

Could this be the reason? (from the bottom of the front page)

® © 1982 SL/EIF, INC. ™ © 1987 SL/EIF, INC.

Seriously though, I hope things will be better when they finally launch it. (I was under the impression it was going to launch today too). It is co-presented by Genealogy.com, after all, a site which looks much better.
posted by frednorman at 2:27 PM on April 17, 2001


A report from 4 and a half months later: I went to the site for the first time last night, and within 15 minutes I'd located records for my great-grandfather and his parents who came through Ellis Island in 1909. I'd never before known what port they came through. I got a copy of the ship's manifest with all sorts of interesting tidbits about my family members. Plus, I learned the name of the ship they traveled on and saw a photograph of that vessel, plus how long the ship sailed and when it was decommissioned.

Not to overstate the case, but this is why the web kicks ass.
posted by ChrisTN at 5:12 PM on September 1, 2001


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