Databases · European Research

Minding the Gap in Post-WWII Immigration/Refugee Genealogy Records – Society Saturday

Each patron query is an opportunity to learn something new.

My case in point from last week -My patron has been seeking records on Lithuanian immigrant A. Bartkus and his family. Anything goes.  My patron didn’t really have much to work with, as her dad won’t talk about his childhood in World World II Lithuania/Germany.

A short interview and an Ancestry immigration search later, and a bright, shiny, Passenger List record appears.  My patron is excited.  Performing another search for the immigration vessel yields a unique story about military vessels shuttling refugees from Europe to the USA and beyond.  My patron is amazed.  “You’ve made my day, my month, and my year!” She said.  “I haven’t found out much of anything before today!”

Yes, I’m awesome on a good day.

Which brings me to ‘Minding the Gap’ portion of Post-WWII genealogy research.  As a descendent of recent immigrants, you can find documents and assistance with the following depositories:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers amazing resources for Post WWII Immigrants including:
Naturalization Certificate Files (C-files) from September 27, 1906 to April 1, 1956
Alien Registration Forms from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944
Visa Files from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944
Registry Files from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944
Alien Files (A-files) numbered below 8 million (A8000000) and documents therein dated prior to May 1, 1951

Records Relating to World War II Era Refugees at the National Archives
There are a lot of records regarding the plight, migration, and individual refugee information available to order in the Civilian Agency Records.  Try looking through U.S. Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948-61 -This Record Group contains additional material relating to the Marshal Plan and the plight of European refugees. There are two divisions to these files including Geographic Files, 1953-54 (Germany-Refugees) and  German Division, Subject Files, 1948-53 (Refugees).

It might be a long shot, but the UK National Archives has an amazing in-depth research guide for refugees topics and records research.  This is a sizable guide, but it has a lot of great links and information.

I always tell my patrons to reach out to those relatives who might be able to answer your questions.  A silent parent might have a chatty sibling or cousin who is willing to talk to you.  Remember, if at first you don’t fricassee, fry, fry, a hen.

Reminder: Don’t miss the next FPLD Genealogy Club Meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 7 p.m. in Meeting Room A.  Genealogy speaker Robin Seidenberg will present To Tell or Not to Tell : Should the Family Skeleton Stay in the Closet?

How would you deal with suicide or the cousin who kept her “cough medicine” (liquor) behind the refrigerator? What about the relatives whose birth dates are not on their tombstones because they always lied about their ages?

Robin will present various family situations. Participants in the discussion group will share ideas and learn from one another. Ultimately each person will determine the most comfortable way to handle these issues

Which brings us to the question/comment of the day: What have you done to overcome the gaps in your family genealogy?

Post your interesting or creative responses in the comment area below.

See you at the Library!


One thought on “Minding the Gap in Post-WWII Immigration/Refugee Genealogy Records – Society Saturday

  1. We really enjoyed Robin’s program at last night’s genealogy meeting – great job, Debra! Regarding – I heard about this site and all the personal information that is available on it several months ago. At that time, I deleted us and upon checking this morning I found “there is no information available” for us.
    Looking forward to “Try-It Illinois” next month!
    Barb and Dave Pardol

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