from Customs Passenger Lists. Transcribed by Elizabeth P. Bentley
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The story of the epic migration to America in the 19th century is a familiar theme in American history and its significance is apparent to everyone. But who actually took part in this migration? Who set out in this historic tide of packets and merchantmen, brigs and barques? The simple truth is that the exodus from Europe took place on such a colossal scale that the identities of the immigrants have been subsumed in statistics, and knowledge of them has remained virtually beyond reach. Yet the original passenger lists for this era--Customs Passenger Lists--have survived, and they hold the key to the identity of a large percentage of the immigrants of the 19th century.
This present volume--the model for a purported series--concerns the Customs Passenger Lists for the Port of Baltimore from 1820-1834. In this one book the researcher has access to the records of some 50,000 immigrants who disembarked at Baltimore during the years in question. Probably three-quarters of the arriving passengers were German and most of the remainder British or Irish. Information provided on the passengers includes age, sex, occupation, name of the country to which they belong, name of the country which they intend to inhabit, name of ship, port of embarkation, and date of arrival. In the case of German passengers, even more precise information is given--places of birth and residence and specific places of destination, for instance. Anyone interested in early 19th-century immigration records could do no better than to begin his research with this groundbreaking volume.
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