Getting Started

Let's face it, the main reason you got interested in genealogy was to find out where in Europe your ancestors came from and whether or not you still have any living relatives there. This webpage is designed to help you search for your ancestor's homeland.

The first step is to begin your basic genealogy research, which is beyond the scope of this web site. If you are just beginning, we suggest you try or for basic information on how to get started tracing your family tree. Once you have gathered some information, come back here for tips on how and where to find your Bauerschmidt ancestors.

How Do I Determine Where My Ancestors Came From?

The two main sources for this information are passenger lists and immigration & naturalization records.

Most people start out researching passenger lists. Be forewarned - if your ancestors came to the U.S. in the 1800s, chances are that the passenger lists will NOT tell you what city that they lived in before emigrating. Prior to 1890 there was no Department of Immigration, so the U.S. Customs Department maintained ships passenger lists. The customs inspector rarely asked where an immigrant was born. What you will usually find is a statement that the passenger came from Germany or Bavaria.

Naturalization records consist of 3 parts: a declaration of intent, a petition for citizenship and a naturalization certificate. The extent of these records that were kept prior to 1890 was not that great. If your ancestor came to the U.S. after 1890, there is a chance that you can find the information you are looking for in their immigration records which can be obtained from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) division of the Department of Homeland Security, if you know when (what year) and where (what court district) they became a citizen. See the USCIS website for further information. However, if your ancestor came before 1890, you will need to get these records from the local district of whatever court they were sworn in. Although federal district courts have Soundex indexes, immigrants did not have to go to federal courts to obtain U.S. citizenship. If you don't find your ancestor in the federal indexes, you will have to look at local courthouses in the area where they were living. These records are not always microfilmed and even when they were it was usually only the naturalization certificate. For the mid to late 1800s, the naturalization certificate will not usually tell you where the individual was born or the date that they entered the U.S. Typically, only the country of origin and year of immigration are given. Don't let this dissuade you from looking, just don't be too disappointed if you don't find your answer.

If you can't find information in passenger lists or immigration records, don't overlook other sources. Check state and federal census returns, marriage records, birth certificates for their children, newspaper obituaries, even cemetary tombstones. Any official document that mentions a parent's name, may also, sometimes, indicate where they were born.

What's The Best Way To Research Ship Passenger Lists?

Here is a 6 step method for finding your Bauerschmidt ancestors in ship's passenger lists.
  1. Assume they sailed directly to the U.S. There are very few German immigrants that sailed to Canada and crossed into the U.S. by land. There does not appear to have been a Bauerschmidt on any of the Toronto or Quebec passenger lists.
  2. Ignore the southern and western U.S. ports. There does not appear to be a Bauerschmidt that entered the U.S. prior to 1920 via New Orleans, Galveston, Houston, Charleston, Savannah, Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle. You can assume that your ancestor sailed into Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York or Boston.
  3. First, look in the German Immigrants to America series by Filby and Glazier. This 67 volume series has indexed thousands of German immigrants that came to all U.S. ports between 1835 and 1895. Each volume contains an alphabetical index at the back listing the names of all immigrants contained on the passenger lists in that volume. If your ancestor is listed in these lists, then your search is over; you will know exactly when they entered the U.S. and the ship that they sailed on.
  4. If you don't find your ancestor in Filby and Glazier, check the Hamburg passenger lists. These are indexed by year. The German authorities were pretty meticulous at recording the city of birth and place of residence for emigrants who were leaving. Not all German emigrants sailed from Hamburg, but if your ancestors did, this is the easiest way to find them.
  5. If they aren't in the Hamburg passenger lists, search the U.S. passenger lists starting with the ports of Baltimore and Phildelphia. Search the New York passenger lists last. Why? Because there is NO index for immigrants entering the port of New York between 1847 and 1897, which is the period of time that most German immigrants came to the U.S. The other major ports do have indexes which makes searching easier and faster.
  6. You can do all of the above on-line in only a few minutes by searching the Bauerschmidt Immigration Database. This database contains the names of 130 Bauerschmidt individuals who entered the U.S. between 1752 and 1944. It includes all the Bauerschmidts appearing on the soundex indexes for the ports of Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and all of the Bauerschmidts listed in Filby and Glazier as well as the Hamburg passenger list indexes.

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Fri Mar 31 13:05:21 CDT 2023