22 July 2014

Crowdsourcing for Friends in Passenger Lists at Ancestry.com

As records become more modern, they tend to include more detail. The same is true for passenger manifests. 

Beginning in the very late 19th century, some US ports of arrival used forms for arriving passengers that included the name of a friend in the US. That's a item that Ancestry.com has extracted for some of their passenger lists.

The first screen shot shows the "record" for a William Thomson who arrived in Philadelphia in 1921.

Searches can't be conducted on the "friend's name" using the search screen because it's not included in all arrival entries (the Philadelphia database starts in 1800 and entries from that time frame don't include much additional information beyond the name, age, and origin). I'm not certain when the Philadelphia records started including friends--and when Ancestry.com started including them in their index.

But these items can be located when searching based upon keyword. That's how the 1921 reference for Mr. John Frame as a friend was located. 

Apparently  Ancestry.com included the friend's name from some of their Boston arrivals as well.

I've seen friend's name as a part of the extraction for the ports of:

  • Philadelphia
  • Baltimore
  • Boston
The problem is that it is difficult to determine just what years and cities the friends were included in the database and what years they weren't. I think it's something those using the databases would like to know.


I'm asking readers who have Ancestry.com to let me know (in the comments section) what arrival port they've found "friends" listed as a searchable item in the Ancestry.com database. It can be a great research tool, but if I don't know what years and ports included friends, it makes it difficult to search. 

I'm looking for the earliest and latest entry in each port--including New York and others. If the item you found is in between years we already have, then we don't need it. We'll include a chart of ports and earliest and latest friends dates once we have them. 

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