World Archives Project: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Immigration Records, Special Boards of Inquiry, 1893-1909
About this project
This project will consist of keying images from Immigration and Naturalization Service records for Special Boards of Inquiry relating to arriving immigrants at the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from 1893-1909. The Special Boards were convened to hear testimony of those immigrants whose entry status into the United States was questioned for a variety of reasons. We will be keying given and surnames, arrival day, month and year, the name of the ship which the immigrant arrived on, the nativity/origin of the immigrant, and their stated age, where given.
Key each named arriving individual in a separate Arrival Record. Families or acquaintances traveling together will often be listed together in the same entry. If an individual is only listed as the unnamed relation of a named person, for example, "John Smith and wife," only create an Arrival Record for John Smith, not for his unnamed wife. Where multiple dates occur on an entry, enter the first date you encounter.
The following records should be classified as Cover Page, Section Header form type: Immigration interview records that do no contain information we are keying for this project, i.e. Ship Name, Prefix, Given, Surname, Suffix, Age on Arrival, or Nativity/Origin. Other types to mark as Cover Page include ship arrival summaries, or letters, telegrams, and other documents submitted to the review board. Be sure to fully read through an image before marking it as Cover Page, Section Header, etc. to ensure it does not contain any of the data types we are keying for the project. If only the ship name and arrival date appear on a page, without an immigrant's name and nationality/origin, mark the image as Cover Page, Section Header, etc.
Mark an image with the form type of Image, No Data if it contains any of the National Archives Introduction to the Roll information, Roll content description, the Microfilm Series number, microfilm headers, National Archive Seal, or is a completely blank entry page.
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The Arrival Record will list the name, nationality or place of origin of the immigrant, and often their age at time of arrival in the United States. (Note that earlier entries in the collection do not always include an age.) The Arrival Record will also include the day, month, and year of arrival, as well as the name of the ship which brought the immigrant to Philadelphia.
The earliest records are hand-written, while latter examples are typed. Also, the length of records will vary. Some, especially latter records, are very formalized, giving the vital information which we are keying, and a brief, one or two sentence description of the immigrant’s circumstances. Other records are multiple pages in length and consist of an extensive inquiry into the circumstances of the immigrant's arrival at the port, and possible reasons why they should not be admitted.
The information keyers are looking for is most often found at the beginning of entries, but not always. If information is not found at the beginning of a record, keyers should read through the entry to see if it is found later in the record. Please note that due to the length of some of these transcripts, it is possible that no information will be found in the set of records which you receive. (For example, you might only receive the middle section of a multi-page interview.) If a subsequent portion of the set contains vital information of an arriving immigrant, begin keying there.
If no information is found at all, mark the appropriate images as Cover Page, Section Header, etc, and try another set.
The Month is the first element in the date of arrival. Sometimes the date will only be listed once at the top of the page, for all records on that page.
The Day is the second element in the date of arrival. Sometimes the date will only be listed once at the top of the page, for all records on that page.
The Year is the third element in the date of arrival. Key the two or four digit year as seen. Sometimes the year will only be listed once at the top of the page, for all records on that page.
See Example 1893
Key any titles before the Given name, such as "Dr", "Rev", "Mr" or "Mrs", using a dictionary if provided for assistance. If a prefix does not appear in a dictionary then key the prefix as seen.
Key the name of the ship, using the dictionary provided to assist. If the name of the ship does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen. On early records the ship name often appears in the body of the record, often following the identifier S/S. Do not key the identifier, only the ship name. On later records, the ship name is located in the margins, or at the top of the page.
Key the first name or initial and any middle names of the primary person to whom the record pertains using the dictionary provided for assistance. If a name does not appear in the dictionary then key the name as seen.
The Surname is the last name of the primary person to whom the record applies. Capture the Surname using the dictionary provided for assistance. If the surname does not appear in the dictionary then key the surname as seen.
Key all titles, such as "Jr" or "III", following the surname of the primary person to whom the record applies using a dictionary if provided for assistance. If a suffix does not appear in a dictionary then key the suffix as seen.
Age on Arrival
The Age refers to the age of the primary person to whom the record pertains. -If an Age includes years, months, and/or days then key only the years. For example, if an Age appears as 10 years, 7 months then key the Age as 10. -If an Age appears in months only, such as 10 months, then key the Age as a fraction of twelfths – 10/12. -If an Age includes a fraction, such as 3 3/8, key only the whole number – 3.
This field can be either the arriving individual's stated country of origin, or ethinicity depending on what the recorder input. Use the provided dictionary to choose a country of origin. If a value is not in the dictionary, such as "Russian Lithuanian" then key as seen.
Mark alphabetical or special indexes found in the records as an Index form type. No information will be keyed from these pages.
Additional Sample Images