Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where DID they come from?

Where did my great great grandparents Charles and Catherine Ball come from? What city, what country? (I believe they came from Germany but I am not sure of the city!) There have been a number of times when I am searching for one particular family name and seem to be getting no where, when I switch courses and try another family name and actually get a "hit". I find it is so exciting to find an ancestor completely by accident!
There are two really easy to use immigration sites for searching for those relatives who came over from the "other side of the pond". Castle Garden was the first official immigration center in the United States. It operated between 1855 and 1890. Over eight million immigrants came through Castle Garden. If you believe your ancestors came to the United States during that time period check out their free search database.
I have been lucky to find several of my family members who did indeed come through Castle Garden. When you find a family member's name on a ship manifest it will also usually indicate what port/country they departed from. That information may provide you with another location to search for information and vital records of those family members.
Most of us have heard of Ellis Island. Ellis Island opened in 1892 and processed approximately 12 million immigrants before it closed in 1954. Their website also offers a free database search.
Don't get discourage if you do not find your relatives. Many of my Boudreau and Deneau family relatives came from Canada. Other family members came through Baltimore and other ports. Keep looking, don't give up and happy hunting!

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The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!