Friday, June 5, 2009

Those never-ending lists

I’ve been trying for days (I should rather say nights) to find my father’s and his family’s names in the Hamburg ship lines passenger lists that sailed for Buenos Aires in the year 1925 (in this picture of the Nansen passport which allowed them to leave Poland, he’s the baby, on his mother’s lap, with his older brother on one side and an aunt on the other). The only clue I have for their emigration date is that my father was around six months old at the time – so they must have left at the end of that year.

The website has all that stuff in a database – or rather, almost all of it, since for the period I’m looking at, they only have scanned images of the ledgers containing those records. They’ve been digitized with the best possible quality – which sometimes means no quality at all. Imagine thin, ancient pages, frequently glued together and full of ink blots. Some you can easily read, others are a mix of words written in both directions (the ink having passed through the paper or from one page to next), and they are basically unreadable. This last week-end, I browsed through a thousand or so pages, hand-written or typed, large, small, sometimes wrinkled (you can judge for yourself from the images below!). I haven’t found anything yet, but I’m planning to keep on reading. I’ve become somewhat knowledgeable at detecting potentially relevant data in this sea of paperwork.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with that effort. I lucked out and located my Stuhlmann grtgrt grandparents, Idel & Leah, their daughters Rachel and Rebecca (my grtgrandmother) and their son Schaje on the ferryboat from Hamburg to Liverpool from whence they emigrated to Quebec and then Chicago, Illinois in 1891. They had left Kiev gobierna in now Ukraine.

    I have not yet located the Levi side of my family in those records.

    I follow your posts with interest since we share a little bit of one of those dna haploblocks you have mentioned and are probably distantly related back in the old country.

    Best wishes to you and all of the others seeking their roots in Old russia.

    Fred Mason
    New Jersey, USA