So I have recently been in Chicago. Well not literally…but I have been doing research on a part of my family who went to Chicago.
It’s the first time I have done any genealogy research in the USA, so I hope I don’t muddle this up.
My Grandmother Dinne’s (Kirstine Marie Roued Christensen) Great Aunt Elene Kristine Roued went to the US in 1888. The story about how we found out about Elene and how my Grandmother, then my mother, then my self took the name Roued is another interesting story that will have to wait for another time. But nevertheless, Elene ended up in Chicago, where she married the Swede Gunnard Andrew Glimborg. They had 6 children of which only one, Ludwig Glimborg, survived. Ludwig himself died in 1978 leaving no family and thus his parent’s families inherited what he left behind.
Coming to America
Sorry, I couldn’t help using that title. It is one of my favorite films. But let’s get on to the immigration records. This is an area where I would appreciate some help. I have been trying to find Elene for years in the Ellis Island records, mostly because it was the only resource I knew. It wasn’t till I found Elene and Gunnard in the 1900 census that I learnt out that they had both come to the US in 1888. Before 1890 all immigration through New York happened through Castle Garden. They also have a free database, but unfortunately extensive searching brought nothing. So what am I to make of this? Did they not arrive in through New York or have their records just not been digitized yet. I have also had a look at the Massachusetts Archives, but didn’t get anywhere.
I fund the US Ports of Arrival and their Available Passenger Lists 1820-1957 and Passenger Lists & Immigration Records, 1820-1940s, arrivals at US ports from Europe from German Roots quite useful, even though I didn’t get much out of them.
The main problem I have with these otherwise great resources is that from a user perspective they are devilishly hard to search. One of the first things you realize when dealing with your family history is that names are never spelled the same all the time. Especially, when you get to US immigrations. They are pretty notorious for changing the names of immigrants all together. Just in Denmark I have seen Roued spelled as: Roud and Roved, Raaed. Glimborg in the US censuses from 1900-1930 is spelled in four different ways (Glimberg, Glinborg, Glenborg and Glimborg) and because I don’t have any information about the Swedish family I have no idea how they would have spelled it. Therefore, it is quite annoying when searching through passenger lists that you can only search on the persons first and last name and ship name. I would have liked to be able to search on age and nationality too!