Thursday, March 15, 2012

New on the Shelf : Germans to America, 1850-1888

Those who are researching German & Prussian ancestry will want to consult Germans to America, 1850-1888.  Approximately 2.1 million entries were extracted from ship passenger arrival records and originally published in 56 volumes, edited by Ira Glazier and P. William Filby, a familiar name in passenger list publications.

In the Local History department, space is somewhat of a factor with a collection this large and the cost is also prohibitive at roughly $90 per volume.  We have done the next best thing and acquired the set on two CD's published by Broderbund in cooperation with Family Tree Maker software, viewable with their Family Archive Viewer. 

"Certainly this information is available online," you might say, and in part you would be right.  A version of these records can be searched on a page sponsored by the National Archives in their community of Access to Archives (AAD) databases along with similar indexes for Italians, Irish and Russians.  The comparison between the book series and the online database is discussed under the NARA Frequently Asked Questions.  At present, the set is not found in the catalog for

For those who prefer to research using books, several larger libraries have the complete books series.  One of the drawbacks to that approach, however, is the need to check an index in each individual volume...a cumbersome process if you are unsure as to what year your ancestor may have arrived.  The CD set allows a single search for the years 1850 to 1874, and another for 1875-1888. 

Online databases are nice, but I'm still big on the Browse Factor, allowing for visual scrolling up and down a list alphabetically watching for alternate and unexpected spellings. 

What information comprises a typical entry in Germans to America?  The categories include:
  1. Name
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Occupation
  5. Last residence
  6. Date of arrival
  7. Final destination
  8. Purpose for travel
  9. Ship's name
  10. Captain's name
  11. Port of embarkation
  12. Mode of travel
  13. Manifest ID number
 Visitors may view and print from this CD set and dozens of others on Local History department computers.  For more information please contact us.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 Black School
location unknown

Can you help us identify the location of Black School pictured here?  Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.