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Enriching Your Genealogy Research Through The GG Archives

The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives has an expansive collection of ephemera, historical articles and publications, photographic collections and other related historical items in addition to our libraries containing several thousand volumes.

While our collections are large, there are by no means complete. The items available online are intended to be a representative sampling of our various collections. The volume of materials in our collection is very extensive and limited by our own resources on what we are able to provide to you online.

Unlike governmental archives such as the National Archives, or repositories that store digitized governmental records like, the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives is most useful as a supplement to governmental records.

Supplementing your own family's voyage to America with information about the ship, sample passenger list covers from that steamship line and era, information provided to passengers by the steamship line and articles on similar voyages can provide context for your raw genealogical facts.

Illustrative Example

While this example is far from comprehensive, its intent is to provide ideas of where to take your research based on documents you have. 

You are the Family Historian and you have either copies or originals of an assortment of documents that your ancestors saved from their immigration to America including:

  • Contract for passage on a steamship
  • Inspection Card for Steerage or Third Class Passengers

With these documents, you can gather information about the steamship line through brochures from that era; find a passenger list from the steamship line or the steamship to learn more about the ship, steamship line and marketing focus of the steamship line. Exploring our passage contracts may help you discover the terms and conditions in which your ancestors traveled – an English translation is already available for you.

Just like the Airlines of today, the major steamship lines used a hub and spoke system to bring emigrants from various countries to the primary ports of departure. Therefore, if your ancestor departed from Trondheim, Norway, they likely sailed on a feeder steamship line such as the Wilson Line to a British port such as Hull, England. From that location, they would take a train to Liverpool or Southampton to depart to their destination. Review our ports of call section for historical information on the major ports.

If your ancestor crossed the Atlantic in Steerage, note that most steamship lines did not create passenger lists for this class. While the passenger manifest will provide information about your ancestor, we do have illustrations and photographs of steerage on several of the major steamship lines that can help you visualize the conditions in which your ancestors travelled. Be sure to check out historical articles written about Steerage and the evolution of this class of travel over time. Immigrants processed through Ellis Island have a wealth of information written about that immigrant station and the process they went through in their pathway to enter the United States. These articles are conveniently organized in our Immigration Archives section.

Wikipedia A to Z Pages Referencing the Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives

One of the many ways to grasp the depth of our online collections is to view a list of Wikipedia pages that others have determined our site to be a good resource for additional information.

  1. Allan Line Royal Mail Steamers
  2. American Export Lines
  3. American Line
  4. Atlantic Transport Line
  5. Belgenland (1914)
  6. Bembé
  7. Big Four (White Star Line)
  8. Bohemian (1900)
  9. Compagnie Générale Transatlantique
  10. Cunard Line
  11. De Grote Vier (schepen)
  12. Dominion Line
  13. Ellis Island
  14. Ellis Island Immigration Museum
  15. Ephemera
  16. Fabre Line
  17. France (1910)
  18. Frank P. Sargent
  19. Friesland (1889)
  20. Hamburg (1926)
  21. Hamburg America Line
  22. Hapag-Lloyd
  23. Immigration to the United States
  24. La Gascogne (1886)
  25. Liebig's Extract of Meat Company
  26. Minnehaha (1900)
  27. New York (1927)
  28. Norddeutscher Lloyd
  29. Norwegian America Line
  30. Pavonia (1882)
  31. Pennland (1920)
  32. Pennsylvania (1897)
  33. Prinz Adalbert (1903)
  34. Prinzen-Klasse
  35. Red Star Line
  36. Resolute (1920)
  37. RMS Adriatic
  38. RMS Aquitania
  39. RMS Celtic
  40. RMS Franconia (1911)
  41. RMS Laconia (1911)
  42. RMS Oceanic (1899)
  43. Scandinavian America Line
  44. Smallpox vaccine
  45. SS Blücher
  46. SS Hamburg (1926)
  47. SS Kaiser Wilhelm II
  48. SS Leviathan
  49. SS Prinz Adalbert
  50. SS Savannah
  51. SS Teutonic
  52. SS Volendam
  53. Statendam (III)
  54. Steerage
  55. USAHS Marigold
  56. United States Lines
  57. USS S-49 (SS-160)
  58. White Star Line
  59. William Brown Meloney (1878–1925)
  60. Zeeland (1901)

How Others See Us

Family History and the Immigration Experience
Sources for Documenting the Immigrant Journey

By Kimberly Powell
Genealogy Expert

In her review, Kimberly Powell highlighted Special Collections for immigration and historical documents; Steerage Class: The Immigrant's Journey; Daily Life Aboard a Steamer; and Medical and Mental Inspection of Immigrants.

National Park Service One of the largest collections of historical documents from the 1800s through 1954 with concentrations in Steamship and Ocean Liner documents and photographs, passenger lists, U.S. Navy Archives and additional materials covering World Wars I and II, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and Immigration documents from Ellis Island, Castle Garden and other Immigration Stations.

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