Deutsche Genealogie Homepage]
Achtung! / Attention!
Diese Webseiten sind technisch und zum Teil auch inhaltlich veraltet; sie werden nicht mehr aktiv gepflegt. Ihr Inhalt wurde weitgehend in das aktuelle Webangebot GenWiki überführt, diese Migration konnte aber noch nicht abgeschlossen werden.
These pages are outdated, they aren't administered any longer. Most content was migrated to GenWiki, but the process isn't finished yet.
[German Genealogy Home]
Published Passenger Lists:
A Review of German
Germans to America, Volumes 1-9 (1850-1855)
Michael P. Palmer
Lacunae in Germans to America, 4: Conclusion.
Nothing in the preceding discussion should detract from the
importance of GTA or diminish the significance of the records it
contains: to make available the names of approximately 544,000
German immigrants to the United States between the years 1850 and
1855 is an impressive achievement, and certainly those researchers
who find the immigration records of their ancestors in GTA will
have no reason to fault it. Nevertheless, despite its size, GTA
contains the names of only about three-fourths of the approximately
725,000 Germans who immigrated to the United States between 1850
and 1855, and many researchers will discover to their dismay that
their ancestors are among the approximately 181,000 German
immigrants during this period whose names do not appear in GTA. In
fact, records of many of these German immigrants do exist among the
very records utilized by GTA. An objective selection criterion, a
more reasonable percent requirement, and expanding the base of
potential records to include manifests for ships arriving at
miscellaneous ports as well as passenger lists that only survive as
microfilm copies would have enabled GTA to capture a significant
number of these missing names.
The editors and publisher have announced that they have received
sufficient support to continue GTA through the 1860's, and possibly
as far as the 1890's. This information is most welcome. To improve the
coverage of future volumes,
however, the editors might consider the following recommendations.
First, the selection criterion should be changed from ethnic
background as determined by surname forms to nationality. As
discussed above, determining ethnic background solely on the basis
of surname forms is extremely difficult and prone to
error [note 48].
While selecting passenger manifests for publication
strictly on the basis of the nationality of their passengers may
result in the omission of some lists on which the passengers are
not German nationals but ethnic Germans from elsewhere in Europe,
it is important to note that the title of the work is Germans to
America, and most experienced genealogists searching for immigrant
ancestors from Switzerland, France, or the Austrian Empire would
not think to check a work with such a title, even if the people in
question were ethnic Germans.
Secondly, the requirement that 80 percent of the passengers listed
on a manifest be in some way "German" (in this case, German
nationals) should be lowered considerably. Ships continued to grow
in size throughout the 19th century, with the result that by the
1870's it was not unusual for a vessel specially built for the
emigration trade to carry more than 1,000 passengers. To require
that a ship of this size carrying at least 800 German nationals to
be eligible for publication--or, to rephrase the statement, to
disqualify a ship of this size carrying as many as 600 or 700
German nationals--seems unreasonable. In fact, the following two-tiered
approach seems much more sensible:
- print in full all passengers manifests containing at least 25
percent German nationals;
- in the case of passenger manifests containing less than 25
percent German nationals, print only the names of the German
nationals, in the order in which they appear on the manifest,
together with an introductory note indicating the total number
of passengers (e.g., "15 cabin, 300 steerage"), a breakdown of
this number by nationality ("120 French, 82 Swiss, 37 Germans,
33 Belgians, 28 Dutch"), precisely where on the list the names
of the German nationals appear, and any other relevant
information, such as deaths and births during the voyage.
Finally, the editors should include transcripts of those manifests
containing names of German immigrants that survive only as National
Archives microfilms, or, at the very least print at the beginning
of each volume a list of those microfilmed manifests that contain
the names of German immigrants.
This article is copyright © 1990 Michael P. Palmer, but may be
republished, in whole, or in part, with proper attribution.
An earlier version of this article was published in German
Genealogical Society of America Bulletin, vol. 4, No. 3/4 (May/August
1990), 69, 71-90.
To Top of
Letzte Änderung/Last update: 21-Feb-2000 (jz)
Kommentare zu dieser Webseite bitte an Webmaster
Comments and suggestions regarding this page should be sent to
Juristisches / Disclaimer