Trying a New Tool for New York Immigration Records

MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com) is an Israeli-based family history website that offers record searches, family trees, and DNA testing. The company’s strengths include participation by many genealogists from outside the U.S. and high-performance technologies for matching and search described here.

Recently MyHeritage announced the addition of Ellis Island and other New York Passenger Lists covering the period from 1820 to 1957 to its searchable collections. The announcement was picked up on the Dick Eastman and Legacy Family Tree blogs. (Click here for Eastman’s article, and here for the Legacy Family Tree article.)

The New York passenger lists have long been available at The Statue of liberty – Ellis Island Foundation website (www.libertyellisfoundation.org), Ancestry‘s “New York, Passenger lists, 1820-1957” collection, and at FamilySearch. Searching the records is free at Ellis Island Foundation and FamilySearch; Ancestry‘s collection requires a personal subscription but can also be accessed free through Ancestry Library Edition at many libraries. At MyHeritage, you can search the New York passenger list records for free, but you will need a subscription to view the extracted information and scanned images or access Record Matches.

What’s unique about the newest version of the records is that MyHeritage has indexed and made searchable information that other providers have not indexed. This includes the columns added in 1897 for the names and addresses of relatives or friends that ship passengers were joining in the U.S. and the columns added in 1907 for the name and address of the passenger’s closest relative or friend in their home country. The ability to search this information is a truly exciting development for family history researchers. It enables us to link family members, use information on associates and locations to distinguish between immigrants with similar names, and identify previously unknown family members and locations in the U.S. and overseas.

This morning I was able to use the new MyHeritage search to find a passenger list that had long eluded me–the arrival record for my great-grandmother Eva (Kruchkas) Abromitis’ sister Anna (Kruchkas) Dalton Bagden. Anna’s 1910 and 1930 census records indicate that she immigrated in 1902,1 while her 1920 census record indicates that she arrived in 1903.2 Search of the Schuylkill County naturalization indexes at the Schuylkill County archives in Pottsville revealed no naturalization record for Anna or either of her husbands. This was unfortunate since a naturalization record might have yielded information about Anna’s arrival date and port of arrival that might have helped locate her immigration record. Since Anna married her first husband after arriving in Pennsylvania,3 I knew that I was looking for a single woman named Anna Kruchkas or some variant of that name. Repeated searches at Ellis Island, Ancestry, FamilySearch, and StephenMorse.org, using wildcards and variants of her first and last named failed to turn up her arrival record.

That record popped up this morning in the MyHeritage “Ellis Island and Other New York Passenger Lists” collection using the single search term “Abromitis.” The search produced several thousand hits, picking up name variants including Abromitis, Abromaitis, Abromeitis, Abramitis, Abromatis, Abramaitis, Abromaytis, Abromaites, Abrameitis, and more. On the sixth page was a hit for “Vinz?? Abramaitis,” the brother-in-law of passenger Ona Krotzkute, born circa 1878, last permanent residence “Sucreth,” nationality Russian.

Was this Anna’s arrival record?

  • The name was possible. Ona is a variant of Anna. Lithuanian surnames vary, with different suffixes being added to a root name to denote sex and (for women) marital status. As an unmarried woman, Anna would have used the root portion of her surname (Kruchk-) and added the suffix for an unmarried woman (-iute or -aite). In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many Lithuanian names were polonized, so the Lithuanian name Kruchkas might have used a polonized spelling such as Kruczkas. “Ona Krotzkute” is a plausible rendering of Anna’s name.
  • The birth date was also possible. Although Anna’s death certificate gives her birth date as 18914, her tombstone says she was born in 1885,5 and other documents give other birth dates.

Clicking through to the extracted record and image revealed more information. “Ona Krotzkute” arrived in New York on 22 October 1902 on the ship Moltke from Hamburg. Her last permanent residence was “Sucreth.”

  • The arrival date is completely consistent with the immigration year given in Anna’s 1910 and 1930 census records, and within a year of the date given in the 1920 census.
  • The ports of departure and arrival, Hamburg and New York, are the same ports utilized by Anna’s sister Eva and her husband several years before.
  • The last residence of “Sucreth” was puzzling until I clicked through to the passenger list image, where I was able to see that “Sucreth” was a mistranscription of Suwalk, the area of Lithuania where the Abromitis and Kruchkas families lived.

The clincher in identifying “Ona Krotzkute” as Anna Kruchkas was her final destination in the U.S., Shenandoah, Pa., along with the identity and address of the relative she was joining, brother-in-law “Vinczas Abramaitis, Shenandoah, PA, 217 Centre St. In 1900, my great-grandparents lived at 218 East Raspberry Alley.6 The 1902 Sanborn fire insurance maps for Shenandoah show that East Raspberry Alley ran parallel to and between E. Lloyd and E. Centre.7 Names, dates, and locations all coincide to identify this record as Anna’s arrival record.

Since I now knew that Anna arrived in the U.S. on a Hamburg ship, I was able to locate her emigration record in Ancestry‘s “Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934” database, and share these two records with other Kruchkas descendants.

I like the new MyHeritage database and will be using its indexing features in the future to find other missing passenger lists!

  1. 1910 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Schuylkill township, enumeration district (ED) 79, sheet 8-B, dwelling 127, family 129, Annie Dalta [indexed as Halta); accessed via “1910 United States Federal Census,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 November 2017), Pennsylvania > Schuylkill > Schuylkill > District 0079 > image 16; citing NARA microfilm publication T674, roll 1419. 1930 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tamaqua, ED 128, sheet 17-A, dwelling 4, family 3, Anna Bgdn (sic); accessed via “1930 United States Federal Census,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 November 2017), Pennsylvania > Schuylkill > Tamaqua > District 0128 > image 33; citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2148.
  2. 1920 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tamaqua East Ward, ED 137, sheet 25-B, dwelling 480, family 497, Anna Dalton; accessed via “1920 United States Federal Census,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 November 2017), Pennsylvania > Schuylkill > Tamaqua East Ward > District 0137 > image 50; citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1652.
  3. “Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KMCR-Z31 : 24 June 2016), Thomas Daltuwai and Annie Ksuozhelute, 1903.
  4. Pennsylvania Department of Health Vital Statistics, death certificate 31914 (1960), Anna Bagden or Badgen; digital image, “Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1964,” Ancestry.
  5. FindAGrave (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/98723059 : accessed 14 November 2017), memorial 98723059, Anna Kruczkas Dalton, Saints Peter and Paul RC Lithuanian Cenetery, Tamaqua, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania.
  6. 1900 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Shenandoah, ED 163, sheet 12-A, dwelling 186, family 192, William Abromatis household; accessed via “1900 United States Federal Census,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 November 2017), Pennsylvania > Schuylkill > Shenandoah > District 0163; citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1484.
  7. Sanborn Map Company, Insurance Maps of Shenandoah, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, January 1902, sheet 4; digital image, Digital Collections, Penn State University Libraries (https://collection1.libraries.psu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/maps1/id/21778 : accessed 14 November 2017).
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