This is Nana Caterina and Nonno Pietro on September 15, 1915, their wedding day. Nana was 26 and this is probably what she looked like when she left Italy.

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  1. How much information has your genealogical research generated?
  2. Have you a system in place to organize and maintain what you’ve gathered?
  3. Are you keeping track of the family mysteries you’ve solved?

Your genealogical success is dependent on many factors including your organizational system. This subject was addressed in an earlier blog entitled “Your First Steps In Genealogical Research” and here are a few more recommendations.  

Arnold Joseph Perry's Birth Certificate

Baptismal records verify parental names and the child’s date of birth. This belonged to my father, Arnold Joseph Perry, born October 22, 1922 in Sault Ste. Marie.

Easy Charts To Keep You Organized

  1. Go to The Ellis Island homepage at
  2. Click on the heading “The Ellis Island Genealogical Learning Centre” and review the resources listed in the drop-down box.

The following tend to be useful:

Pedigree Charts record direct-line ancestors and The Four Generation Family Tree Chart will build a family tree with you as the starting point.

The Family Group Sheet researches a specific family line and records details for specific members including births, baptisms, marriages, etc.

The Immigrant Passenger Arrival Information Chart can assist you in recording data about various ancestors you are researching from different Ship Manifests.

These are all free and easy to download and print from your computer.

Bringing The Past To Life With A Picture

  1. Do you think a picture can help bring a past experience to life?
  2. Would you like to see a picture of the ship that your ancestor sailed on across The Atlantic Ocean?
  3. Are you keen to know a few details about the vessel?

Ship images with brief descriptive text are provided at The Ellis Island website for passengers included in their database. Please refer to an earlier blog entitled “Using Ellis Island Passenger Records To Connect With Your Past” for the search process.


What Can A Picture Tell You?

The America was the steamship that brought my Nana Caterina to Ellis Island on January 13, 1913 and I found its picture plus details about the vessel on the Ellis Island website. I printed off a black and white picture of the America at no cost and the accompanying text informed me of the following:

a). The ship had been built in Muggiano, Italy in 1908 for La Veloce Line.

b). It was 476 feet long, 55 wide and weighed 8,996 gross tons.

c). The America had carried a total of 2,650 passengers and was scrapped in 1928. I’d already verified from the Ship Manifest that Nana Caterina had been a steerage passenger and now learned there’d been 2,400 in this category compared to only 30 in first class and 220 in second.

This represented new information for my family.

Where You Can Find More Information On Ships

These books are full of fabulous interior and exterior pictures that will help you imagine what your ancestors might have experienced.

Miller, William H. Pictorial Encyclopaedia Of Ocean Liners, 1860-1994. Dover Publications, Inc. 1995.

Server, Lee. The Golden Age Of Ocean Liners. Todri Productions Limited. 1996.

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What ships brought your ancestors to Ellis Island? How did learning this help solve family mysteries? I’d welcome your comments. The next blog will show you pictures of what Ellis Island looks like today.  I hope you enjoy the photographs.


Harbour of Naples, Italy

This dark brick building and dock area in the harbour of Naples, Italy today is where steamships in the past would have departed and begun ocean voyage to Ellis Island, New York.

12th century fortress is in the harbour of Naples, Italy

12th century fortress is in the harbour of Naples, Italy This 12th century fortress is in the harbour of Naples, Italy today. My Nana Caterina would have seen it when she left on the America in 1912 for North America.