The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Passports and the Immigrant

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series US Immigration & Naturalization Records
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications: Chicago, New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, 1914-1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1246000 / MLR Number A1 535; Box #: 4161; Volume #: 1via Ancestry.com

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications: Chicago,
New York City, New Orleans, San Francisco and Seattle, 1914-1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier
1246000 / MLR Number A1 535; Box #: 4161; Volume #: 1 via Ancestry.com

By Shannon Combs-Bennett, Student

Ok, I am chugging right along through the US Immigration and Naturalization Records course and modules 3 and 4 were very cool.  Module 4 was a lot of new material for me, particularly since I have not spent a lot of time learning about Canadian border crossings. No one in my family (that I have found) ever came through Canada. My husband however is a different story. His great-grandparents nearly starved to death (according to his mother) trying to farm in Alberta from 1920-1922 before going on to Washington state to settle.

While that was very interesting I was fascinated to read about the US passport regulations.  Nowadays we take it for granted that if you want to leave the country you need to get a passport.  It is a very simple process, and they are handy forms of government identification.  I did not realize  that this was not the law until 1941.

Personally, I think passport applications are an underused resource for genealogists and should be used a heck of a lot more. Especially if you know your ancestor traveled a lot, either for fun or for business.  I learned this last year when I helped a friend start her genealogy journey.  Her great-grandfather traveled back and forth to Central America for work and the information on his application actually broke down a huge brick wall on where her family came from. She learned that his father was born in Scotland and what his name was!

The last section of the module was on ports of emigration. One day I am sure they will come in handy for me, as soon as I figure out where those pesky ancestors came from. I did not realize how many ports still have a significant amount of records. With all of the destruction from World War I and World War II. I know that many places have no records left. Needless to say it gives me hope!

Next time I will be talking about the last modules of the course. Should be interesting since one of the subjects will be on fraternal orders. See you online!

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  • Claire says:

    I know more about my aunts brother-in-law than about her own husband. Why? Because he was a sailor and went in and out of NY a few times. Each time they recorded his height and weight and age …and any distinguishing features. You could see him, in your minds eye, growing up. Although his 5’6″ didn’t change, his weight did, as you probably would hope from a 16 year old to a 20 year old. Bulking up to be able to hand all the tasks his did on a daily basis.

    December 15, 2015 at 6:38 am

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