Sunday, November 13, 2011

Great Lakes Passenger Lists Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880

They Didn’t All Come Through Ellis Island
There were so many ways to enter America at any given time. Most researchers rely on Ellis Island records, but, so many of our ancestors did not come through Ellis Island. There were entry ports from the east, south, west , north – as in Canada and the Great Lakes. Researchers often venture out to the other major 19th and 20th century U. S. arrival ports for immigration: Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans. But what about the Great Lakes?

Dutch through the Great Lakes
It is true that immigrants can be traced in ethnic clusters and their early American settlements.  This focus should begin with being acquainted with the purpose of emigration and the most popular routes taken.

Currently, I’m tracing a group from Dutch (Holland) that settled in the Great Lakes. Whereas other ethnic groups may have emigrated due to religious persecution, wars. political preferences, etc., a primary reason for Dutch immigration was to increase land and financial status.

Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880
The Dutch Immigrants to America, 1820-1880 database “contains information on over 56,000 Dutch immigrants who came to America between 1820 and 1880. The information was extracted from the National Archives passenger lists of ships arriving at various Atlantic and Gulf ports. The list includes vessels disembarking at Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and other smaller ports.”

Further Research
Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan 
A good idea when researching passenger list is to also learn of the many ships that did not survive the passage. Many Great Lake researchers have already heard of the sinking of Lady Elgin, 8 Sep 1860. Over 300 passengers, mostly Milwaukee’s Third Ward Irish went down with her. If not, you may wish to reference Lost on the Lady Elgin by Valerie van Heest. 

Another good book to have handy: Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan, by Ted St. Mane. 

And, let’s not forget the Great Lake passengers who crossed through Canada. Although not a complete list, a good resource of Great Lake port crossings is the St. Alban's Border Crossings This collection is not limited to St. Alban, VT crossings, but holds records along the Northern border with Canada. Researchers may wish to become familiar with this collection through the New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestor’s page,
 St. Albans Passenger Arrival Records by Michael J. Leclerc  

Kathleen Brandt
Accurate, Accessible Answers

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