USA / Which ship did your Goldens come over on?

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USA / Which ship did your Goldens come over on?

ShipMy Goldens/Gouldens came over before 1770, probably well before 1760 — so we may never know.

It was not until 1820 that shipmasters arriving in the USA were required to file a manifest naming their passengers and where they came from, and via which ports they traveled.

Our modern system of travel and immigration visas has only existed since 1922. Before 1922, if you were not Asian (targeted primarily to Chinese) or African then you essentially could just show up — if you had no apparent communicable disease or were not a known criminal then: Welcome to America!

Quite a few ship manifests do exist for the years prior to 1820, especially for those passengers coming from outside the British Empire. However, those existing ship manifests cannot begin to account for but a small fraction of immigrants before 1820.

For example, just during the period of 1630-1640 the estimate is that some 200 ships brought immigrants to Boston, Massachusetts. Yet, we have manifests for 34 ships between 1620-1820.

It is a bit of work to sift through it all, but many existing ship manifests (lists of passengers) are available online.


You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden, Norfolk1956@gmail.com

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.

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