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Completeness of ship manifests

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Completeness of ship manifests

Posted: 30 Aug 2013 8:41PM GMT
Classification: Query
I am looking for ship's records for several of my ancestors, and have been able to find fewer than half of them. I have searched on familysearch.org, ellisisland, castlegarden, ancestry.com, used Steve Morse's One-Step pages to search Ancestry.com, and looked through the hard copy "Germans to America." I have used all the creative search methods I know (wildcards, creative surname spellings, search by first name & birthdate, etc.) Oh yes - everyone I am looking for came from what is now Germany, between about 1835 and 1885 (yes I realize that is prior to Ellis Island :-) ).

I am starting to wonder if some of these are not there to be found. Can anyone point me to a resource which discusses how complete the ship's records are? For example, I have heard that the outbound records from Bremen were destroyed, but that arrival records largely make up for that. But something similar to that is what I am after. I believe I need to better educate myself as to what data are available, in order to create more effective searches. Any information is welcome. Thank you.

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