Immigration Inof

Ask the Expert

Expert Question:  My paternal great-grandparents came from Austria.   They were Slavish.  My grandfather told stories of coming to America and arriving at Ellis Island, however, I cannot locate their records.  I have their death certificates and obituaries and that is it.  Where do I go from here.  I don't even know if the name they used in America is the same name as it was in Austria. 

Expert Answer:   This is a common research scenario in which you have heard where they came from, that they immigrated through Ellis Island, but that's it.  Let me provide a word of caution,
Ellis Island is like Woodstock. More people claim they were there, then really were.  Your first task is to find some document that actually tells you when and where they immigrated or provides the name of the actual town in Austria (or any foreign land for that matter) where they were born.

Here are a few suggestions for you.

  • Depending upon the time period, the best starting point may be a naturalization.  Naturalizations after 1906 were handled at the Federal level and usually contain the date (or estimation), port and possibly the ship that they arrived on. 
  • Many census records provide the date of immigration.  If they were here in 1930 or 1920, start by searching the 1920 Census or 1930 Census for those records and see what year is referenced.  You can access them at
  • City Directory - If you cannot find the naturalization or census, you may have to go year-by-year through the city directory.  Start with the most current year you can find him and work backwards.

Additionally, you may want to draw up a Research Outline which outlines his life chronologically, lists
documents that are available, have been searched and the results. This will allow you to determine what
other sources may be left to consult.  See Using a Research Outline to Focus Your Genealogical Research for an article about how to do this.

Still have questions, Ask the Expert.

 

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com

dfasddsdfsdfdsfsdfdfsdfasdfsdfsdfsd

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com

 

Privacy Statement
 

2006-2012 by Family Tree Expert


www.FamilyTreeExpert.com