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Index of 1890-1891 New York Immigrants from Austria, Poland, and Galicia

Compiled by Dr. Howard M. Relles

This is an index to all of the immigrants who arrived at the port of New York by ship in the years 1890 and 1891, for whom the ship’s records indicated that they were citizens of Austria, Poland, or Galicia.  There are a total of 96,699 such records.

The source of this data is the U.S. National Archives' (NARA) microfilmed copies of the original ships' passenger manifests, prepared at the time of embarkation from the particular overseas ports.  The complete title and bibliographic citation are: National Archives Microfilm Publication M237: "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820-1897": Rolls #543-#580, Jan. 2, 1890 to Dec. 31, 1891; published by the National Archives, National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, Washington, DC, 1958.

Microfilms of the 1890-1891 New York passenger arrival manifests are available at several branches of NARA, including Washington, DC; New York City; Waltham, MA; Denver, CO and Chicago, IL.   The microfilms can also be found at several large public libraries, such as the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, IN), the Dallas Public Library (Texas), the Houston Public Library (Texas) and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin.

These microfilms can also be borrowed through any of the more than 4,500 local LDS Family History Centers.  (See here for LDS microfilm ordering numbers).

About this database

This database is an index to the 1890-1891 New York passenger arrival manifests, including only those passengers who indicated that they were citizens of Austria, Poland, or Galicia.  There are a total of 96,699 names in this index — 44,052 for 1890, and 52,647 for 1891.

The fields in the index are as follows:

  • Surname and Given Name of the passenger.
  • National Archives soundex code, computed.
  • Date of Arrival into New York, in Year/Month/Day format.
  • Microfilm Reel Number (from the US National Archives' microfilm publication M237).
  • Ship's Name.
  • Ship's Number (the sequential number designated on the NARA microfilm).
  • Line Number of this passenger in the ship’s manifest.
  • Notes: An abbreviation meant to convey special information about the passenger, as follows:
    • w = with relatives, usually grouped together with others with the same last name.
    • p = citizen of Poland
    • g = citizen of Galicia
    • d = deleted; a line was drawn through the name indicating the person probably did not sail.
    • m = miscellaneous additional list, other than the main or large steerage list.   Occasionally, for example, there were separate numbered lists for each class of passenger.
    (In the 1890 data, if “p” or “g” is not present in the abbreviation field, it means that the passenger was listed as an Austrian citizen.   These codes were not used in the 1891 data).

Additional information about each passenger may be available on the microfilmed ship manifest.  This may include the immigrant’s age, sex, marital status, final destination, calling (occupation), assigned living space on the ship, and number of pieces of luggage.  Occasionally, in these 1890-1891 records, a town of origin may be included.

There were a total of about 2,000 ship voyages per year recorded in the the 1890-1891 rolls of microfilms.  Of those 4,000 voyages, 1,375 voyages had at least one passenger on board who was listed as a citizen of Austria, Poland, or Galicia.  There were 136 unique ships with that characteristic.  Here is a table of the 1,375 voyages, alphabetical by ship name, with corresponding dates of arrival and microfilm numbers.

Other Observations

A very small number (perhaps 1%) of the ship’s records do not have the individual passenger's lines numbered.  In those cases, for the purpose of this index, each passenger’s line was assigned a number by counting from the beginning of that ship’s record.  Some manifests have more than one numbered list.  Therefore, any researcher taking down a Line No. and planning on getting the rest of the immigrant's information by going to the microfilmed manifest at NARA (or other places) should know that they might need to scan for another numbered list if their immigrant is not on the first such list.

This index contains only those 1890-1891 New York immigrants who responded "Austria", "Poland", or "Galicia" to the question: "What is your country of citizenship?"   It is important to note that the first two of these answers could have more that one meaning each.  In the latter part of the 18th century, Poland was divided up and taken over by the three great surrounding powers: Austria, Russia, and Prussia (Germany).  After the completion of this division in 1795, there was officially no longer a country named Poland.  However, as can be seen on these 1890-91 ship’s records, many people still responded that their country of citizenship was Poland.   Interestingly, these responders were probably three or four generations later than their ancestors who had been alive when Poland’s breakup was completed 95 years earlier.  Obviously, a strong nationalistic message was making its way down through the generations.  (Of the 96,699 immigrants that make up this index, 60% said "Austria", 39% said "Poland", and 1% said "Galicia").  The "Poland" response could imply that they came from three different regions of the original country: Austrian (southern) Poland, a region also known as Galicia; Russian (eastern) Poland; or Prussian (western) Poland.  "Austria", on the other hand, could mean Austria itself, Austrian Poland (Galicia), or other parts of the Austrian Empire (Bohemia, Moravia, Bukovina, Transylvania, etc.).  Judging from the first and last names of the small number who responded “Galicia”, they were most likely from Austrian Poland rather than from the area of Spain known by the same name.

Here is an analysis of the most popular given names of these passengers.

The majority of these ships came from the German ports of Hamburg and Bremen.  The German ships generally had the largest numbers of Austrians/Poles/Galicians per ship.  Ships from England, France, and Holland usually had a relatively smaller number per ship.

This index cannot claim to be complete.  What are known to be left out are a small number of records, probably a few hundred, that were illegible or undecipherable on the microfilms.

For more information about researching U.S. passenger arrival records, see the "Passenger Lists" section of the JewishGen FAQ.

Acknowledgements

The 1890 index was prepared by Dr. Howard Relles at the National Archives in Pittsfield, Massachusetts; and the 1891 index was prepared by the following volunteers: Dena Abrams, Anna Axelrod, Merv & Naomi Barnett, Rosie Blum, Susan Farb, Marilyn & Scott Genzer, Rebecca Gerber, Chantal Taryn Geyser, Joan Glasner, Ed Goldstein, Hanna Grossman, Stu Horwitz, Ben Karliner, Sylvia Nusinov, Joan Parker, Nancy Ring-Kendrick, Barbara & Howard Relles, Bob Rosenthal, Herb Rubenstein, Ralph Salinger, Joel Stearman, Greta Tedoff, and Paula Zieselman.

Howard M. Relles
April 2000, October 2002.


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