6.13.2020

Immigration to America: making sure no one was “…..an idiot, or imbecile or a feeble-minded person, or insane person or a pauper, or is likely to become a public charge, or is afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous, contagious disease, or is a person who has been convicted of, or who admits having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude..."


This morning I woke earlier than I would have liked, and not being able to get back to sleep, I did what I always do... grabbed a book.

This morning I was immersed in Viking history.

Some I already knew, some I had forgotten, but I always pick up a new fact or tidbit and I love learning new things.  Funny, I hated history when I was in school.  I enjoyed it way back in elementary days and even junior high but by the time I got to high school I did quite poorly in my Freshman history class.  Pondering this now, I realize it was probably the teacher of my 9th grade history classes coupled with the text books we were forced to use.  (A creepy older man who loved to rub the girls shoulders, sit with his legs wide open and his crotch on display, and try to peer up skirts...coupled with dry, boring, poorly written and often times misleading or wrong text books - which has only gotten disgustingly worse.  Mandatory text books today are... well, a whole other post for another day!)  Since then, generally speaking, both the teachers and the mandatory text books have become failures in this topic. Even much of the fighting going on today is based on misinformation and lack of education in the topics.

Earlier this week I was re-visiting one of my 'reading for fun in the evenings' topics;  Emigration to America.  I love to read through old passenger and crew lists of the ships arriving in New York in the late 1800 and early 1900's.  I also love to read historical documents (not the picked apart and misconstrued versions being taught in schools today, but the actual, real sources), as well as census documents, government reports, studies, biographies, 'how to' manuals and more...  you can find almost everything and anything if you research and a great place is archive.org - I love that site.

The original emigrants and visitors (even if you are a returning American citizen) had to have arrival interviews that included medical interviews and proving they had monies in their pocket at that time and a place to go - be it a relative or sponsor and proof of who paid their passage fee.   You had to prove you were coming to America to work and be responsible for yourself and not come expecting any charity or handouts.

Your name, where you are from, and even your height, eye and hair color.
By whom was your passage fee paid?
Are you in possession of at least $50?
Are you joining friends or relatives?  If so, what is their complete address and name?
Have you ever been in prison, an almshouse or supported by a charity?
Are you a polygamist?
Are you an Anarchist?
Condition of your health - both mental and physical.
Are you deformed or crippled?





The affidavit of the master or commanding officer or first or second officer would be filled out and signed and dated, regarding the passengers health, intent and criminal backgrounds of the vessel; 


“…..no one of said aliens is an idiot, or imbecile or a feeble-minded person, or insane person or a pauper, or is likely to become a public charge, or is afflicted with tuberculosis or with a loathsome or dangerous, contagious disease, or is a person who has been convicted of, or who admits having committed a felony or other crime or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, or is a polygamist or one admitting belief in the practice of polygamy, or an anarchist, or under promise or agreement, express or implied, to perform labor in the United States, or a prostitute, or a woman or girl coming to the United States for the purpose of prostitution, or for any other immoral purpose….”





If the passenger was returning to America after being overseas for whatever reason, they filled out an "OATH OF RETURNING CITIZEN".

"I have been abroad temporarily and am now returning to the United States with the purpose of resising and performing the duties of citizenship therein."

 

I love to look over the names on the passenger lists, especially of the families.  I also sometimes choose random names or addresses to look up to see how this person fared in their new country, where they chose to make their homestead, what industry they went into and their family tree.

Another fun thing, which you can see here, is to look up the address of where this person lived in say, 1900, and then look up the address to see what it looks like today. Many of the addresses were in New York, Philadelphia and Boston and are still standing today.