Q. How difficult can it possibly be to find a passage record for a Lithuanian immigrant to America when one has the date of arrival (within a day or two) and the port of arrival?
A. Extremely difficult and most challenging.
Label Sandler AKA Leib or Louis Sandler and his wife Khana Reisel AKA Anna Rose had written on their Naturalization Indexes that they arrived on a given date at a given port. Anna’s document had both the port and date whereas Louis’ had a date one day later than his wife’s card but no port.
I had every other record attached for them, births, marriage, deaths etc. So one would assume that the site I was working on would have given me a hint to the arrival. No, it didn’t. I searched and searched but to no avail. I changed search terms, performed wildcard searches but came up with nothing.
After coming back to these records intermittently over time and coming up with nothing, I decided it was time for extreme measures. I decided to to manipulate the system somewhat. I was determined to find those records. No computer or transcriber was going to stop me.
I went to another site, searched for the shipping manifests for Baltimore Arrivals only to discover that there were a mere 119,418 images to look through and who knows how many names. Fortunately they are categorized in years.
Now there were only 1230 records to trawl through.
One has to take a guess at what image to start with in order to get to the correct date. Once one has selected the correct date, there are still about 90 records for a passenger list. Extreme patience is the key.
Well, I found Label and all the information on the passage record matches him. However the handwriting was a challenge. It is no wonder his name was mis-transcribed by the first site mentioned. Well, kind of. To top things off he was listed as a female. Hence there was absolutely no way I was going to find him in the regular search parameters.
If you cannot manage to read the original record, they have written him as Schandler, Leibe, 21, M (male), Shoemaker.
One would have thought that in order to link this record to him on the first site, I would simply need to go back to that site and start a fresh search for Schandler, Leibe arriving on the correct date, give the name of the vessel and arrival port.
But to no avail. He still did not show up.
Yes, frustration was settling in nicely by now.
So what did I have to do?
I had to go to every Baltimore passage record on site 1 and trawl through all their records for that ship. Fortunately it was an alphabetical listing of names. I got to the ‘S’ surnames, hoping that they had at least transcribed that correctly.
And there he (she in their case) was:
Not quite Leib and not quite male. Nevertheless, I finally found and connected him to his passage record.
But, where was his wife Anna (Khana)? Usually the family members are listed together on passage records.
Yet again, to no avail. The problem was that there were no other Sandlers, Schandlers or anything similar to be found. Time to think laterally, as always.
Fortunately, I knew her maiden name after finding their marriage document in Lithuania. Yes, I had to start the entire process again to find her on both sites.
Anna (Khana) had the maiden name Levin. I found her on site 2.
But look at the greyed out box above her name.
Her surname/maiden name Levin was actually crossed out and written above in pencil on the original passenger list is her married name “Schandler” - not quite sure what the other annotations are yet. Why this was not picked up by the transcriber on site 1 is beyond me. All that was left to do was to find how site 1 decided to list her.
Wait for it…
Thought I had seen it all. There have been others but that’s another story.
Hmmm, Anna (Khana) Sandler = Hessie Leevon.
Genealogical searching requires extreme persistence, perseverance and patience.
There is one reward though; one gets a great sense of accomplishment when the records are finally found.