Saturday, December 7, 2019

Now Indexing:
More NYC Immigration Records

It's time to add a little confetti to my holiday calendar—and take care of a monthly giving-back goal before that holiday calendar gets too hectic. (Yes, for those who complete an indexing project at, the website showers electronic confetti from top to bottom of your computer screen.)

I like to do my tiny bit, in thanks for all the help that's come my way over the years, by indexing a couple sets of records every month at Indexing—the process of turning digitized pictures of historical documents into searchable records—does not take long, once you've read up on a few tips and instructions, and it gives the satisfaction of being of help to others. After all, we all enjoy the comparative exponential search speed, post-Internet compared to pre-Internet. The indexing process makes it possible for more records to be directly searched (versus browsed) by people looking to verify their ancestors' stories.

Since my family came to North America through the port of New York City—and likely completed some of the same forms I'm indexing today—I like to work on that record set when I do my volunteer work for I love seeing the wide variety of situations, smashed into bureaucratic constriction, and can only imagine the stories those forms preserved.

This time, I spotted an immigrant from Finland who somehow found true love with an immigrant from Italy—about as far apart on the continent, and as varied in physical surroundings, as one can get. I also noticed an Irish immigrant who gave, for her place of birth, a tongue-twisting name of a town which surely will be a gift to any of her descendants, if they come seeking traces of her path.

If only those future researchers could share their stories of finding these documents online. What fun it would be to see the expressions on the faces of those who have, at long last, followed the paper trail back one step farther than they ever had, before. 

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