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.
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.