Michael Shaheen who married Sadie and lived in Tampico was the brother of Malham Shaheen Haddad.Haddad was the family name in Lebanon, but when Malham came over here to America the name Haddad was dropped during the emigration process. Shaheen was Malham's middle name to the best of our knowledge (I am not sure what Michael's middle name actually was).He then encouraged his brother, Michael and some sisters to come over the the states, but told them to use the name Shaheen so that they could be recognized as the same family.Something along that line anyway.
Your friends must also know who Ray Shaheen was, a son of Michael.Ray would sometimes come down here for family reunions.
If you go to the website for the Tampico, IL Historical Society, you will find quite a few bits of information on Michael and Sadie.Just type "Shaheen" in the site search.There is also a photo of the grocery store they ran along with a note from a traveler they took care of.Malham also ran a grocery store, but is was in Erie, IL.The towns are about 35 minutes apart.Many of Malham's children were born in Tampico where they lived before moving to Erie.
Malham has resided in Clinton, IA and in the Sterling/Rock Falls, IL area.Michael may have also been in those locations.
From what I understand,Michael and Sadie did move to South America at one point (probably Brazil, where other family is located), but then moved back to the states.You might be able to find passport records on this.
As for immigration records, I don't have any of that information.There have been times when we thought we had found the families arrival in the U.S., but I still have research to do in that area.The biggest problem is how the names were spelled on the ship's manifest.You figure most people filling out the manifests did not know the Arabic language and wrote what they thought they heard.Maybe if you find out when Michael was naturalized, you can find more information on his papers that may mention which port he came through.
In this family there is no difference between Lebanese and Syrian.It is a matter of when geographical borders changed.Today, we have a difference between the country of Syria and the country of Lebanon.However when the Shaheen Haddad family immigrated they were living in Ain-Ata, Syria which was under the Turkish rule at the time.In the 1900's when borders where changed, Lebanon became a new country and Syria became a smaller country.Ain-Ata now resides within the Lebanese borders.
There is much more including information on the family that still resides in Ain-Ata.