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Perhaps they were trying to find family or friends who had arrived earlier. Others were trying to locate a servant or apprentice who had escaped. Sometimes lists of newly arrived passengers were published.

These kinds of notices are not unique to this time period (middle nineteenth century). Rather, such notices are found at anytime a newspaper was being printed near where immigrants lived. Particular attention has been paid to colonial newspapers, perhaps because of the difficulty of colonial research, or the smaller number and size of such newspapers. However, the lack of other helpful sources during the time period currently being discussed, makes them especially useful if your immigrant arrived during this pre-Civil War period.

Chain Migration

As we have discussed earlier, most persons who immigrate to a new country chose to move to that country because they had heard good reports from previous settlers. This created what is usually called a process of "chain migration." Thus, over the period of years, and even decades, friends, family, and neighbors from the same town or district came to a locality in the New World. Once arriving, they naturally wanted to find their former associates. Often they knew where they lived, or at least thought they did, after all, this was one of the reasons they emigrated.

 

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