Searching the Ellis Island Database in One Step (Gold Form)
Frequently Asked Questions

Stephen P. Morse , San Francisco


000  Gold Form Specific
100 General
200 Missing Manifests


001. How does this gold one-step search form differ from your original white one-step search form?

My white one-step search form is based on the search engine provided by the Ellis Island website.  And that search engine has its limitations.  These limitations are discussed on the overview page.

To get around these limitations, we have set up our own alternate search engine.  This gold one-step search form uses our alternate search engine whereas the white one-step search form goes directly to the Ellis Island search engine.  The gold form supports all fields that the white form supports.  Furthermore it supports additional fields such as traveling companion, marital status, exact date of arrival, and precise year of birth.  The white form allows for sounds-like searches on the last name only, whereas the gold form allows for sounds-like searches on the first name, town, and traveling companion as well as the last name.

The gold form allows you to leave out the last name completely if desired.  The white form allows you to leave out the last name too, but in that case it does numerous searches on your behalf and stitches all the results together.  The gold form does it all in one search, making it considerably faster.

The gold form also gives you control over how the results are to be displayed.  You can specify which fields are to appear in the display and how the results are to be ordered.

So the gold one-step form is a more powerful search tool than the white one, and should be the search form of choice.  Only when you fail to find the passenger you are seeking should you then revert to the white search form to try a new perspective on the search.

002. Is it now possible to do a search to find all people who came from my grandparents' little village?

Yes it is!  Just enter the town name on the search form and nothing more.

Although this is theoretically possible from the white form, it would take a much longer time.  That's because of the multiple searches that the white form has to do when you don't specify a last name.

003. I sometimes get a message saying that my search request has been given low priority because I am not accepting cookies.  What is that all about?

When analyzing our performance, we discovered that the server was being overloaded because it was simultaneously working on the identical request that was submitted multiple times.  That occurs when a user submits a time-consuming request and then gets tired of waiting for the results.  So he hits escape and then resubmits the same request.  Although hitting escape aborts the request on the user's browser, it does not stop our server which is  actively working on obtaining the results.  So the server is spending a lot of time performing searches that the user has abandoned, and this degrades the performance for all the other users who are patiently waiting for their results.

To overcome this problem, we decided to tag each user with a cookie.  That way we can determine if a user has submitted a request while we are still in the process of obtaining results for one of his previous requests.  If that happens, we simply abort the previous search on the server.

But some users have cookies disabled because they believe that it might be an invasion of their privacy.  On many websites that is true, but here we are using the cookies to be able to detect this situation that could degrade performance and to allow us to take corrective measures.

We do the following when we get a search request from a user that has cookies disabled.  We check to see if there are any searches in progress from any other user who has cookies disabled.  If so, there is a possibility that it could be the same user.  However we can't be sure, so it would be wrong for us to abort the previous request.  In this case we reject the current request instead, and give a message explaining why we did so.  That is the message that you saw.

004.  Are there no more questions?

There are many, but they are similar to the ones asked about the white search form.  They are repeated below for convenience.


101. Do you have any success stories of your own that you can share with us?  Perhaps we can learn some search tips from it.

Yes I do.  Years ago I had spent many hours at the National Archives searching for a Jonas Feiner, but was unsuccessful.  And when the Ellis Island Database first went on-line and I developed this search page, I tried again but still nothing.  After making some refinements to my search page, I gave it one more try -- this time looking for anybody having the first initial J and last initial F, arriving between 1898 and 1900, being between 25 and 35 years of age, and being Romanian.  Found only 17 hits.  Examined them.  One was a "Jonie Foinsz" from Tassy.  That was obviously a mis-reading of Jassy which is indeed the town that my Jonas Feiner came from.

I pulled up the original manifest and carefully read the name.  Although the Ellis Island volunteers entered it as "Jonie Foinsz", I was able to read it as "Yoine Foinar".  That real close to Jonas Feiner.  It said he was going to his brother-in-law (no name given unfortunately) in Brooklyn -- yes, my Jonas Feiner did go to Brooklyn when he arrived.  So I'm pretty sure I've got the right record.

102. I know the ship on which my grandfather arrived and the day that he arrived.  Is there any way that I can get to that ship's manifest so I can do a line-by-line and page-by-page search looking for my grandfather?

There are several ways to do this.  Let's start with the hard way:

Enter the ship name and year on my gold search form.  Then enter any first letter of a last name.  Presumably there will be somebody whose last name starts with that letter and who came over on that ship in that year.  So you should get at least one match.  Problem is you might get too many matches and the search on the Ellis Island server might time out.  In that case, pick a two-letter pair as the start of the last name to reduce the number of hits.

Once you get a list of hits, pick one of them and get to his passenger record.  It will show you the Month/day that he came over.  Keep in mind that this ship probably arrived multiple times during the year, usually on the average of once a month.  If this is not the arrival date that you wanted, then go back and pick another name from the list of hits you got.  Keep repeating until you get one with the arrival date that you want.

Once you have a passenger with the right arrival date, you're in business.  Go to his manifest and then start advancing forward and backwards on the manifest pages.

Next for a moderately-difficult way.
Go to my Missing Manifest Form (found in the Ellis Island section of my home page at  Fill in the "Month", "Day", and "Year" that your grandfather arrived.  The series and roll frame will automatically be filled in for you.  Click on the display button and you will be on frame 1 of that roll.

By pressing the +1 button under Frame, step through the microfilm roll until you get to the ship that your grandfather was on.  Then continue stepping through each manifest for that ship, checking each one for your grandfather's name.

Also see question 203 for some of the errors that might occur when you are doing this.

Finally the easy way.  This is similar to the moderate way except it gives you a shortcut for getting directly to the correct roll and frame on the missing manifests form.
Go to My "Ship Lists" form (found in the Ellis Island section on my homepage at  Enter the name of the ship and the date of arrival.  Click on the search button.

Look at the results and see if the ship and date you want is listed.  If so, click on the ship name.  That will take you to my missing manifest form starting with the roll and frame for the first manifest page of the ship you want.  Continue stepping through each page and check each line for your grandfather's name

See also question 213 which says the same thing in a different way.

103. Why doesn't your searchpage allow me to see Ellis Island records prior to 1892 or later than 1924?

Up to April 18, 1890, Castle Garden was used as the immigrant processing center.  On that date the US Treasury took over immigration, and moved the processing center to the so-called Barge Office.  That office operated until January 1, 1892 when Ellis Island was opened.  So that is the start date of the records in the Ellis Island database.  The Barge Office was also used from June 14, 1897 until December 16, 1900 because of a fire that had destroyed Ellis Island (don't worry, no records were lost due to the fire).  The records from this second use of the Barge Office are in the Ellis Island database.  After 1924 Ellis Island was no longer used as a major processing center.  Some immigrants were still processed there, but only in rare cases.

OK, that explains why the Ellis Island database covers the years 1892 to 1924 only.  So how can you access the other years?  Simple.  Go to my All-New-York Arrivals searchform, which covers all arrivals from 1820 to 1957.  As such, it duplicates the records found in the Ellis Island database and contains records from many additional years as well.

104. My father's name is spelled correctly on the manifest but it was typed in wrong on the passenger record.  How do I get it corrected?

Any attempt at getting the Ellis Island Foundation to fix such errors would probably be futile (see Second Thoughts below).  The typing in of these records was a massive task undertaken by volunteers from the Mormon Church.  Naturally it is full of errors.  The correcting of these errors would involve reading the e-mails from millions of people like yourself, determining for each one if it is really an error in transcription or simply the way the family would like it to read, and then physically making the change if they deem it appropriate.  That would be a second massive task and I doubt that it would be worth doing.

My advice is to be happy with the work that they did do and be thankful that you were able to find your father's manifest in spite of their errors.  After all, the goal of their work was to enable people to find their ancestors, and it appears like they have succeeded in your case.  The end result is the image of the ships manifest and that you now have.  The fact that there is an error in the tool that enabled you to find that manifest is no longer important.

[Second thoughts: The Ellis Island Foundation has recently added a pre-populated e-mail where you can list your suggested changes right next to the existing data.  They say that their staff will check the suggested changes against the original manifest, and make the correction if a mistake was clearly made in the transcription process.  I've heard that this process is already underway and that they are even reviewing the suggested corrections that they have received since the inception of their website.]

105. Why am I unable to view a copy of the enlarged manifest on the Ellis Island website?

The answer depends upon how you are trying to get the enlarged image.  Most people are simply clicking on the thumbnail image and expecting the enlarged image to pop up because that is what used to happen.  But due to a recent change on the Ellis Island website, you now need to left-click explicitly on the magnifying glass to the right of the thumbnail image instead of on the image itself.

But one person was reporting that nothing happened even when he clicked on the magnifying glass, although he said it used to work for him.  Upon further questioning, he finally admitted that he had recently installed a pop-up ad blocker from zdnet on his machine.  The pop-up manifest was being misinterpreted as an ad and it was being blocked.  He investigated further and reported back that he could fix the problem by going to the start menu and running "regsvr32 /i urlmon.dll".  Of course an easier fix is to turn off the ad blocker.

106. How can I import the list of matches that I obtain into a spreadsheet?

All too often people attempt to combine the final result into a spreadsheet because they don't know how else to display what they have found.  There are much better ways to present such data.  The best in my opinion would be in html itself, which is the native language of the web.  But this is not for the novice, so the details are not presented here.  If you are interested, you can find the details at

However there are some valid reasons for wanting spreadsheets, especially when column sorting is important.  For that purpose I have standardized the output displays from the gold form and the new-format display of the white form so that they can be mixed together on one spreadsheet.  Detailed and clearly written instructions for creating such a spreadsheet are given by Shawn Weil on his webpage at
I highly recommend this to anyone serious about creating a spreadsheet of the Ellis Island search results.

107. Did all the immigrants to the United States come in through Ellis Island?

Although the vast majority of them came in through the Port of New York (Ellis Island), there were other ports or arrival as well.  Some popular eastern seaports were the Port of Boston, Port of Philadelphia, and Port of Baltimore.  On the west coast there was the Port of San Francisco (Angel Island) and down south there was the Port of Galveston.  Some immigrants arrived at Canadian Ports and then entered the United States by land.  Of course the immigrants that came in from these other ports will not be listed in the Ellis Island database.

The records for the Port of Galveston from 1844 to 1954 are on the Texas Seaport Musuem website and can be accessed by my Galveston 1844 to 1854 One-Step searchform.  The records for the other major ports are also online at the site and can be searched from my One-Step searchforms for the Port of Baltimore from 1820 to 1948, the Port of Boston from 1820 to 1943, the Port of Philadelphia from 1800 to 1945, and the Port of San Francisco from 1893 to 1957.  See also the other tools in the "Other Ports of Immigration" section on my home page at  A paid subscripton to is required in order to access the records on the site whereas there is no charge to access the records on the Texas Seaport Musuem site.

Prior to Ellis Island, the major processing center for the Port of New York was at Castle Garden and the Old Barge Office.  These records are on the website and can be searched using my Castle Garden One-Step form.  They are also on the website and can be searched from my All-NY-Arrivals One-Step searchform.  See also the other tools  in the "Castle Garden" section of my homepage at

108. Do you have any suggestions for how I should record the data that I find?

Lisa Perkins has developed a nice webpage in which she presents blank manifest extraction forms.  Her website is at  And as a backup, the same material can be found at

These forms are also useful if you cannot read the column headings on a manifest that you've found.

109. My grandfather's name was ... and he came through Ellis Island in 19..  Can you find his record for me?

I don't have the time to do individual research for all the people who write and ask me to do so.  And for free no less!  But I will answer any questions you have regarding the use of my website.  Beyond that, it's up to you to put in the legwork to find your grandfather.  See the answer to question 110 for how to proceed.

110. Do you have any suggestions as to how I go about finding my grandfather's ship record?

I suggest you read through all the questions on this page as some of them contain useful suggestions for finding evasive passengers.  See especially the answer to question 101.  See also the overview for a discussion of when to use the white form, when to use the gold form, and when to use the all-New-York-Arrivals form.

111. What is the Passenger ID that is displayed with each match found?

Each passenger in the Ellis Island database is assigned an ID.  This allows web pages to find various items (passenger record, manifest, etc.) pertaining to the passenger.  The ID is normally of no interest to you.  However it is useful if you are using the additional details tool.  See the frequently-asked-questions page associated with that tool for more information.

112. How did my ancestor's last name get transcribed correctly when it is listed incorrectly on the manifest?

As an example, see Aniello De Leo who arrived July 3 1898.  He is accompanied by his mother who is apparently traveling under her maiden name of Graviosi.  The last-name column for Ariello contains simply a ditto mark indicating that it too is Graviosi.  The manifest shows that his mother is going to her husband Michael De Leo.  Surprisingly, the text version of the manifest lists Ariello's name as De Leo rather than Graviosi.

This looks like the handiwork of an overzealous transcriber.  Not only did he do extra work, but he made an assumption which he should not have made.  He assumed that the children would have the last name of the father and not the mother, so he transcribed it that way.  It may have been the correct assumption in this case but could just as easily have been incorrect.  Fortunately such transcribing was the exception rather than the rule.

113. I found my grandfather in the Hamburg departures.  Why can't I find him in the Ellis Island arrivals?

It might be that you didn't search carefully enough and are missing him, perhaps because his name is badly misspelled.  But if you've done a due-diligence search (going line by line) and still cannot find him, here is a possible explanation.

From about 1892 to 1903, first and second class passengers were simply discharged at the dock -- they disembarked and headed off to a cab or the train, with no immigration screening at all.  If there were additional passengers, the ship would then proceed to Ellis Island for processing of those passengers.  The ship's manifest that it submitted to the officials on the Island might or might not include the first and second class passengers who were discharged earlier.  Furthermore, if there were no additional passengers, there would be no need for the ship to go to Ellis Island, and no manifest would be submitted at all.  All that changed after 1903 when the complete manifest, including early discharges, was submitted.

114. Are the Ellis Island records complete?

The short answer to this question is, for the most part, yes.  People ask this question because they are frustrated in ont being able to find their ancestor, and are hoping to learn that they are failing not because of anything they are doing wrong.  In almost all those cases, the person being sought is there but the researcher has just not yet figured out the right combination of search parameters to get a successful match.

However nothing is perfect, and there are undoubtedly some cases in which a record is missing for one reason or other.  For a detailed treatise on this, see the excellent write-up by Marion Smith.

115. I've already found my ancestor's record and it shows the ship on which he came over.  Why don't I find him when I search using that ship name?

Unfortunately the ship name as spelled on the passenger record and even on the manifest is not necessarily the spelling that you need to use when searching the Ellis Island database.  For example there is a ship called the Konigin Luise and that is how it is spelled on the passenger record and manifest.  But the spelling that the Ellis Island search engine recognizes is "Konigen" instead of "Konigin".

Another example is the "Presidente Wilson".  It is owned by a ship company in Trieste, and that explains why there is an "e" at the end of Presidente. However the search key for this ship in the Ellis Island database is "President Wilson", and therefore you must search for it without the final "e".

In order to search the Ellis Island database by ship name, you must misspell the ship name exactly as it was misspelled when the search key for it was created. It doesn't matter how the ship name is really spelled. And it doesn't matter how the ship name is spelled on the passenger record that the Ellis Island server displays. Unless you use the ship spelling that appears in the search key, you will not find any matches. Unfortunately that spelling is never displayed to you.

To make matters worse,  some ships have been entered into the database with multiple ship search keys as if they were different ships.  The St. Louis, for example is one of them.  Some passengers who came over on that ship can be found by using the spelling "St. Louis" on my search form, others with "St Louis" (no period), and still others with "Saint Louis".

So what does all this mean to you?  It means that life just got more complicated and you might have to try alternate spellings (or misspellings) on the ship name.



201. When would I use your missing-manifests page?

Suppose you searched for a passenger, got to the passenger record, clicked on "view original manifest", and it brought you to a page that says "NO IMAGE AVAILABLE" in a big black box.  This means one of two things have happened.  Either the image did not get uploaded into the online Ellis Island database due to some error..  Or the image was uploaded but the link in the database is missing.  In the latter case, you can access the image using my missing manifests page.

[Second thoughts: The message no longer says "NO IMAGE AVAILABLE" but instead says "WE ARE EXPERIENCING SERVICE DELAYS".  The message is bogus and there are no service delays.  The instructions described here still apply.]

Also, when you click on "view original manifest", you might get to an image of a manifest but for the wrong ship.  In this case the link in the database is incorrect.  My missing manifest page might be able to help in that case as well.

And, finally, you might not have found your passenger at all, but from other sources you know the exact date of arrival and possibly the ship as well.  In that case you can use the missing manifests page to view all the ships that arrived on that date and go through them line by line looking for the name you want.

A good companion tool to my missing manifests page is my ship lists search form.   It can tell you what roll and frame your ship is on, and give you a link for getting directly to the manifest.  See question 213 for more details.

202a. I got the "no image available" message.  How do I use your ship-lists page and missing-manifests page to find that image?
I got the "experiencing service delays" message.  How do I use your ship-lists page and missing-manifests page to find that image?

You just searched for a passenger, got to the results page, clicked on "view scanned manifest", and it brought you to a page that says "NO IMAGE AVAILABLE" or "WE ARE EXPIENCING SERVICE DELAYS" in a big black box.  Now do the following:

a. Above the black box is the date.  Write that down.  To the right of that box in a blue field there is a page number.  Above the page number is a line number.  Write that down as well.  Also write down the port of departure.  There will probably not be any ship name shown, but ignore it if there is because it is probably wrong.

b. Go to my Ship Lists page.  Enter the range of dates and the port of departure.  This gives you a list of arrivals.  You click one-at-a-time on any that correspond to the date that you wrote down, and that gets you to the microfilm roll and frame for the first frame of that arrival.

c. You advance through the frames by clicking on the +1 button under the word FRAME.  For each frame, look at the line that you wrote down and see if it contains the passenger you are looking for.  Continue until you find the passenger, or you get to the first frame of the next ship.  If you get that far, you lose and you need to see question 204 in that case.

d. In some cases you can fill in the frame field with the page number that you wrote down, and that might be the correct frame.  If it is, it will save you from having to step through each frame of the ship's manifest.

203. I got to the manifest for the wrong ship.  How do I use the missing-manifests page to find the correct manifest?

You just searched for a passenger, got to the results page, clicked on "view scanned manifest", and it brought you to a page that contains the manifest for some other ship.  The steps you now need to perform are similar to what was done in question 202, except you don't need to write down the page number in step a because it is incorrect -- in this case step d will not apply.

You will probably see the name of the ship displayed in step a.  That will be the wrong ship.  However if from the results page you click on "view text manifest," you will see a display that gives a ship name.  That is probably the correct ship and should be entered in step a instead of entering the port of departure.

204. I still can't find the original manifest online.  Where can I go to view the actual microfilm?

Some places that you can do this include many branch offices of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), several branches of the New York Public Library (NYPL), and just about any Family History Library (FHL) of the Mormon Church.

205. I'm confused by the "roll number", "frame number" and "line number" that appear on your "missing manifests" page.  Can you explain these?

The roll number corresponds to the physical roll of microfilm.  You normally need not be concerned with that because I will compute it for you automatically when you enter the date.  The only reason it's on the page is in case you can't find what you want on the roll that I compute for you and you want to try searching on the next or previous roll.

The frame number (called page number on the Ellis Island site) corresponds to the a particular frame on a roll of microfilm.  To find the manifest that you want, you might have to step through an entire roll, frame by frame.  But if you've already found the person (by doing a search starting from the white or gold search form) but discovered that the original manifest is missing, you at least have the frame number (they call it page number) presented to you.  So you can try entering that number instead of stepping through each frame on the roll.  Of course that might be the wrong frame, and then you'll have to try some of the other things described in question 403.

The line number is the line on the frame that contains the passenger you want.  If you've already obtained the frame number by doing a search for the passenger, then you are presented with the line number as well.  This number never gets entered on my "missing manifest" form, but rather is the line that you scan down to on the manifest image to see the person you want.

206. Since the manifest (on the missing manifest page) appear inside a frame rather than in a full window, how do I mail the URL of the manifest to someone?

There is a checkbox that says "Display on separate page".  Check that box before clicking on the "Display" button and the manifest will no longer be put in a frame.  That should solve the problem of mailing the URL to a friend.

207. I found the manifest but it doesn't give the passenger names.  Where are the names?

The manifests are sometimes on more than one frame and you are seeing something other than the first frame.  You have to get to either the next or the previous frame (some rolls were scanned in backwards) to see the rest of the manifest.

If you found the manifest from my "missing manifests" page, then simply use the "+1" and "-1" buttons near the word "Frame" to get to the previous/next frame.  If you found it by clicking the "original ship manifest" link on the Ellis Island site, then click on the "prev" or "next" links that appear in the blue box just below the frame number.

208. I enter the date of May 21 on your missing manifest form, but it gets changed to May 19.  How do I get to the manifests for May 21?

Keep in mind that a roll might contain several days worth of ship landings.  Also recall that about half of the rolls have been scanned in backwards.

After you enter the date, my form figures out which roll covers that date and it displays that roll number in the "roll" field.  It also updates the date to the start date for that roll.  So the roll it found for you obviously starts with May 19 and goes at least as far as May 21.  Step through the roll frame-by-frame and you'll eventually get to May 21.

If the date-change didn't occur, that means that the roll you want starts with the date that you entered -- namely May 21.  In that case it could be that May 21 was split across two rolls and that the previous roll ends with some ships that arrived on that date.  So when the date-change does not occur, you should check the previous roll as well.

Keep in mind that if the roll is scanned in backwards, the first frame is not frame 1 but rather is the one that has the highest frame number.  And the date displayed is the date corresponding to that first frame and not to frame 1.

209. I found the manifest but it has a lot of cryptic numbers on it.  What do these mean?

Marian Smith recently wrote up a nice guide to interpreting these annotations.  See

210. Why can't I find volumes 2281 or 2282?

That's a good question.  According to my Ship Lists website as well as the National Archives website, those volumes are supposed to be on T715 rolls 1034 and 1035 respectively.  But they are not in the uploaded manifest images on the Ellis Island website.  It appears that only one volume from each of these rolls was uploaded.  And to make it more confusing, rolls 1033 and 1035 were scanned in backwards whereas 1034 is in normal order.

Volumes 2281 and 2282 certainly exist and can be viewed at various libraries.  See the answer to question 204.

211.  What happened to frames 293 through 431 on roll 1305 series T715?

Looks like those frames didn't make it when they uploaded the images onto the Ellis Island website.  The frames preceding 293 are there as well as the frames following 431.  See question 204 for what to do next.  There are other instances in which specific frames within a roll are not present, but this is probably the most severe case.

212. I found the text-version of my grandfather's manifest.  So why does your "Missing Manifest" tool give a not-found error.

The microfilm roll containing your grandfather's manifest obviously exists, otherwise the volunteers would never have been able to type up the text version of it.  Unfortunately, when the EI folks uploaded the images of the rolls to their website, they skipped a few rolls. That's why my Missing Manifest form, which goes to the images directly and avoids the bad links on the EI website, is unable to display it.  Time to go to a library and view the actual microfilm roll (see question 204).

To date, here are the rolls that have not been uploaded to the EI website.  They are all in the T715 series:

33, 613, 1743, 2642, 3102, 3525

In addition, there are other rolls that have been only partially uploaded.  See questions 210 and 211 for some examples.

213. Is there an easy way to go directly to the roll and frame for a particular ship arrival?

Yes.  Go to my  my Ship Lists page and enter the ship name and and a range of dates.  This gives you a list of arrivals.  You click on the one you want and that gets you to the start of the manifests for that ship arrival.  Then step through those manifests, frame-by-frame, looking for the person you want.

(See also question 102 which says the same thing in a different way.)

I thought these instructions were very clear, but apparently some people were having trouble with them.  If that's you, see question 215.

214. Is there an easy way to get to the list of detained aliens which is at the end of the manifest pages for a ship arrival?

Yes there is.  Go to my Ship Lists page and display the contents of the entire roll (by entering the roll number and pressing SEARCH).  If you don't know the roll number, you might have to enter information on the particular ship arrival first, do the SEARCH, and then see the roll number on the results page.

At this point there are two possibilities.  Either the roll was scanned in backwards (frame numbers are decreasing on the results page) or it was scanned in correctly (frame numbers are increasing).  About half the rolls are scanned in backwards.

If the roll was scanned in correctly, click on the name of the next following ship arrival in the list.  That will get you to the first frame of that ship's manifests.  Then go back one frame.  That will be the last frame of the ship that you want, which will likely be the last page of the list of detained aliens.  Keep going backwards a frame at a time to see the remaining pages of detained aliens.

If the roll was scanned in backwards, click on the name of the ship itself.  That will get you to the lowest-numbered frame for that arrival.  And since the frames are scanned in backwards, the lowest-numbered frame will be the last page of detained aliens.  Then start going forward a frame at a time to see the remaining pages of detained aliens.

215. I read question 214 but don't undertsand it.  Can you give more details?

OK, here's the same thing in more details:

1. Go to my homepage at

2. Click on the link for Ship Lists in the Ellis Island section

3. Enter the name of the ship and the month and year of arrival.  Do not enter the day since you might be off by a couple of days.  You might even try leaving off the month for the same reason.  Hint: enter only the first few letters of the ship name to avoid misspellings.

4. Click the SUBMIT button.

5. You will get a results page showing ship arrivals that satisfy the conditions you specified.

6. Determine the line for the arrival you want and click on the name of the ship on that line.

7. You are now on the form that gives direct access to the manifests. And specifically it is displaying the first page of the manifests for that arrival.

8. Keep clicking on the +1 button under the word FRAME to advance to other frames.  Check each frame to see if it contains the passenger you want.  Continue until you are get to the first frame of the next ship.

216. I have my grandfather's manifest but cannot find him when doing a search.  Can I find out how his name is spelled in the database?

Pick some other passenger on that manifest page whose name is clearly written and unlikely to be misspelled.  Search for that passenger.  When you find him, go to the text version of that passenger's manifest.  On that page you should see you grandfather's name as well, and you will see the spelling that was used when the name was transcribed.

[Second thoughts -- see question 218]

217. I found the manifest for the ship arrival, but it doesn't have the line number that I need.  How do I get to it?

There are many instances in which frames or even entire rolls from the original microfilm have been accidentally skipped when the images were scanned in and put on line.  In some cases they assigned a frame number to the frame, but you get some sort of error message when you attempt to access the frame.  In other cases they've skipped over the frame completely and not even assigned a frame number to it.

See questions 210, 211, and 212 for examples of the former.

An example of the latter is series M237, roll 609, starting at frame 710.  Note that frame ends with line number 892 and frame 711 starts with line 949.  So the frames containing lines 893 to 948 have all been skipped.

But all is not lost.  Those frames do exist and are on the actual microfilm rolls.  See question 204 to find out where you can view those microfilm rolls.

218. Why can't I do a search for any of the passengers on series T715, Roll 833, Volume 1833?

It appears that that entire volume was skipped when the search index was created.  So you will not be able to find such passengers when using any of my search forms.  I was previously under the belief that every line of every manifest on the microfilms had been indexed, and any failure to find a person was due to possible gross spelling errors when the index was created.  But this example proves me wrong.  So far this is the only case that I know of where such an omision occurred.  [Second thought -- see question 220 for another case that I just became aware of.]

The dates involved are February 24/25 1907 and the ships are the Eutoria, Gutrune, Prins Willem, Caracas, Spartan Prince, Kaiserin Auguste Victoria, Trinidad, and Havana.

See also question 216.

219. Why can't I magnify an image of a manifest beyond 0.7?

The website does not allow you do change the magnification -- all images that they display to you are at magnification level of .5.  I have discovered how to change the magnification and give you the option of changing ot on my Missing Manifests form.  However it does not work uniformly for all manifest images.  Some of the images can be magnified up to 1.0, others can not be displayed at magnifications exceeding 0.5, and still others have other limits on the amount of magnification permitted.  It should always be safe to display with a magnification of 0.5, but for other values it's hit or miss.

220. Why can't I do a search for any of the passengers on series T715, Roll 1377?

The dates involved here are November 21 to 24 1909 and the ships on that roll are the Pannonia, Sannio, Tennyson, Colon, Jose, Patris, Columbia, Roma, Desterro, Rosalind, Havana, Winipedian, Rijndam, and Duca d'Aosta.

This is another example of the issue discussed in question 218.  See the answer to that question for more details.

-- Steve Morse