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Fresh Ideas for Family History, Part 3

Create your own immigrant wall of honor, with the display of immigrant ships.

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Type: Article
Resource: GenWeekly
Prepared by: Priscilla Harden
Word Count: 665 (approx.)
Labels: Immigration 
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In this the last of three articles, suggesting ideas to enjoy your family history everyday. The subject is immigration and the display of our ancestors' immigrant ships.

Select a place to display images of these majestic ships where they will be seen first as you walk into your home, maybe a wall facing your front door entry. But before really discussing the display of immigrant ships, immigration itself is an interesting topic.

Most of us living in the United States have ancestors who came to this country for a new start in life. Yet despite the hardships they suffered, all were determined to come. If your ancestor came to this country between 1892 through 1954, they came through Ellis Island, in New York, before settling in their new country. Ellis Island has a wonderful website, which commemorates many of those who came to this country between 1892-1954. An American Immigrant Wall of Honor has been set up there at Ellis Island. You can search to see if your ancestor is already listed there, if not you can have there names engraved there. Below is the site where you can research to see it your ancestors' are remembered. The information you receive on that site are invaluable, as it will give the family name and those who all came, with the brick number on which their names are engraved, http://www.wallofhonor.com/.

In keeping with the immigrant ship information, immigrant passenger lists will bring to life the reality that, indeed, the family you are searching for actually boarded a ship from a certain port and then traveled across the ocean to their new land. This passager list will also list the port from which they debarked. There are two wonderful sites which will aid you in finding your ancestors on the net, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, http://www.immigrantships.net/, and Passenger Lists on the Internet, http://members.aol.com/rprost/passenger.html.

Most of the immigrant ships are from Germany and most passengers did leave from some port in Germany, although there are some ships which did pick up passengers in Ireland, and England.

Once you have found the family and family members on a passenger list, you will then have the dates of their travel, the occupation of the family, which family members came, and, of course, the name of the ship. Once the name of the ship is known, you will be able to search for a photo of that ship. There are several ship sites online which will help you find out about the immigrant ship you seek. Often sites will give you the years which it sailed, year it was built, weight, and miscellaneous information of interest. Let GOOGLE do your work for you and search for the name of the ship on the web, but also with the search engine, search the ship's name under the images. If you are not able to find your ancestors ship, check to see of what class the ship belongs to and that will help you to find a similar ship of that class which will look almost exactly the same.

Once you have found and printed several of your ancestors' ships, you are ready for display. Organize and frame your photos according to date, and starting at one place in your hall or entry, at the top of the wall, hang them one under the other in sequence of date. Be sure to put the family name on the back and a date along with the name of the ship to help you remember. You have now created your own wall of honor of the ships which brought your family to America! Besides it being very interesting, you will be able to see the progression of improvements in ship building as the years progress, and your guests will be amazed of your wall of honor.

Other sources which will be helpful in finding out about your family and immigration: Island of Hope by Martin W. Sandler, Scholastic, 2004, and We Are Americans by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler, Scholastic, 2003.

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.

*Effective May 2010, GenWeekly articles that are more than five years old no longer require a subscription for full access.

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