Virtually all of us are immigrants. Our ancestors may have come across on the Mayflower, or in one of the subsequent waves of immigration. We may have ancestors from Germany, England, Wales, Scotland, Italy, Africa, China, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, or any one of a hundred other countries that have made up the wonderful melting pot that has formed the United States. We are a nation of immigrants.
One of the most challenging aspects of genealogical research can be tracing our ancestors back to their country of origin. There are many records that can help with this task, but the vast majority of these records are in the National Archives on the United States and have not been published. Since they are not published, and further because they have not been indexed, they are difficult records to use. For many individuals, crossing the ocean is a nearly insurmountable challenge.
FamilySearch and the newest consortium project hopes to change this. Recently a new indexing project was launched after the completion of the 1940 census indexing project. It is an ambitious venture to digitize and create an index of all immigration and passenger list records at the National Archives of the United States. Once it is complete it will be the single best resource worldwide to tracing the immigration of individuals to the United States.
This is a great opportunity to participate in a project that will serve genealogical researchers and help them to solve some of the most difficult challenges in research. It also allows each of us to connect with our ancestors and learn about what formed our ancestors and ourselves.
I had the opportunity a number of years ago to trace my wife’s ancestors back to England and we visited where her great grandfather lived. We also found family who lived there. It was a wonderful experience. Having these passenger lists available will facilitate experiences like this for many more people. I hope that you take some time to get involved in the passenger lists program. To learn more visit http://FamilySearch.org/us-immigration-naturalization .