M O R N I N G    S E S S I O N S  
Discovering Your Immigrant’s Origins: Exhausting Every Resource
Pin down your elusive immigrant ancestor’s place of origin using some well-known – and lesser- known – record sets, ideas, and techniques.
Immigrant ancestors didn’t always leave behind too may records that give hints as to their exact place of origin. The endless “Ireland” notations or “Poland” listed as place of birth can drive genealogists, both beginner and expert alike, mad. This presentation delves into various and diverse records that are found stateside so as to narrow down that search, as well as ideas for when the paper trail continually runs cold. The main suspects will be discussed, as will numerous lesser-known and lesser-used records. Many of these record sets are also rich with genealogical details, and can help contextualize and fill in our ancestors’ lives here in the United States.
Immigration & Naturalization Laws Throughout U. S. History
Learn about America’s immigration and naturalization laws in this overview, from 1790 – the present.
Since the founding of the nation, naturalization and immigration laws have dictated who was able to immigrate, become citizens, and have all the rights and privileges therein. Understanding the complex history of these laws gives us a better understanding of the lives and times of our ancestors, and can help us theorize what records we might find. Moreover, it may answer questions regarding why an immigrant never naturalized, or why ancestor arrived at one time over another.
A F T E R N O O N    S E S S I O N S
Board of Special Inquiry Records: Few and Far-Between
Family story about a detention at Ellis Island? “BSI” notation on a ship manifest? Learn what few records still exist that detail an immigrant’s questioning before a Board of Special Inquiry, and their possible subsequent exclusion, appeal, or detention.
Many researchers see “BSI” listed next to an ancestor’s name on a ship manifest and are disappointed to find that most of these records no longer exist. However, records of the Boards of Special Inquiry are still extant for various years in the ports of San Francisco, San Pedro, Honolulu, and Philadelphia, as well as along the Southern Border. Records of cases that were appealed to the Central Office in Washington, D. C., may also be found. These remaining records will be examined to discover what stories they tell about individuals held for questioning.
Military Records and Immigrant Ancestors
Draft cards, service records, pensions, registrations… when an immigrant ancestor fought for the
American military or interacted with the Selective Service System, the records left behind are numerous and enlightening. These records may not only reveal a place of origin, but could greatly help to contextualize an ancestor’s life and times.
Many military-related records were created that relate to our immigrant ancestors fighting for their new homeland, registering for the draft, or claiming some sort of exemption. This lecture focuses on immigrants within these record groups, but well over half of the record groups covered also relate to non-immigrants.
Question & Answer Session until 4pm EDT
The conference will conclude with a Q & A from questions submitted by attendees.