Over the Ocean Blue

This month’s podcast is all about immigration and ship records. Where did our ancestors come from? How did they get here? Who did they travel with and what do the records tell us?

We dive into where records are located, how to find them and what we can find about our ancestors in those records. We discuss what to do when you can’t find the record but you know your ancestor arrived here in a certain year. Or maybe you have the name of the ship from your grandparent’s memoirs but no date. All is not lost. It may take some time and lots of digging through non-indexed records but it can be done.


My Great Great Grandfather Adolph Henry Herman immigrated here from Silesia, Germany when he was 17 years old with a friend who’s last name started with a “Z” or so the story in the family goes. This would mean he immigrated in 1885. But we don’t know that for sure. What I do know is he was born in 1868 (unless he lied) in Germany and in April 1890 he married Mary Stimmel in Hoytville, Wood Co., Ohio (that I have the marriage certificate). I also know his first child with Mary was born in May 1890, one month after the wedding. So I would guess from these dates that he at least made it to Ohio by summer 1889 if not before.This gives me a parameter for looking for immigration records.

The trouble with Adolph Herman is that there are quite a few that fall within those time periods and match approximate age and location and there is no way for me to really know exactly which one is mine at this point without a little more research. One possible match from Castle Garden is from Russia. Could be Prussia after looking at the ship manifest and that would work but the age is about 5 years off. Could an 18-year-old pass for 23? Maybe. I just need a few more clues to narrow it down. The search continues. You never know where your next clue will come from but in the meantime I am learning so much about researching immigration records.

Search on family historians and may the wind be behind your sails.



Leave a Reply