- On www.ellisisland.org you will find passenger lists from 1892 onwards of ships that entered New York (Ellis Island). You will not find passenger lists of other arrival ports.
- On www.ancestry.com and www.familysearch.org you will find passenger lists of all North American ports in the United States and Canada. These databases are therefore more extensive than www.ellisisland.org. In addition, you will find much more than passenger lists: you will also find documents about the application to become an American citizen, information from population censuses, registration cards for the American army ... from which you can find much more information about someone's life in America. Please note: www.ancestry.com is a paying website. You can get started via the search forms on both websites: https://heritage.statueofliberty.org/passenger and http://search.ancestry.com/search/
- For searches on Belgians who have left, you can also call on Familiekunde Vlaanderen: http://familiekunde-vlaanderen.be/
- For passenger lists to Latin America please visit the search website https://cemla.com/buscador/
How to research
- The archives of the Red Star Line have unfortunately been lost. We have no passenger lists or other documents from the shipping company in our collection. An important source of information are the American passenger lists. They are well accessible and digitised, you can do your own research there. (see 'Collection online')
- A golden tip is to write the name of the person you are looking for in as many ways as possible. American officials in the ports of arrival were not always familiar with the foreign names, and sometimes wrote something wrong. Moreover, many people took a different name in America, either a first name or a surname may have changed. For example, a 'Frans' often became 'Frank'. A 'Van den Broeck' became 'Vandenbroeck', and so on. Be creative and try as much as you can.
- Also, birth years can differ by a few years, so allow for a margin. When a whole family sailed to America, the wife usually got her husband's surname, although this was not the custom in Belgium. On the passenger lists, the people who travelled together are listed together.
In the museum
- In the museum café, you'll find a few personal computers available with which you can search on https://www.ancestry.com/ for the names of passengers who arrived at Ellis Island in America long ago. Perhaps you will find a family member who emigrated?
You can find more tips on looking up your own family history on the Family History website.