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How to Use The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives

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The GG Archives is a vast resource for social and cultural history from documents, brochures, pamphlets, booklets, etc., created as ephemera by the many different steamship companies that did not survive into the 21st century.

We also possess a number of original documents such as steamship passage contracts, World War I and II draft cards and related materials that are one-of-a-kind that tell a story of the migration from Europe to North America.

Using the GG Archives

Organized by topics, the GG Archives specializes in providing social and cultural history an historical context to aid in your research and enhance your Family History.  With the exception of our military collection, the Archives is focused on the period of American History beginning with the 1880s to 1954 (the year Ellis Island closed).

The Voyage Across The Sea

The strength of our Archives is having a representative sample of ephemera, journals and articles about transatlantic voyages, and many documents pertaining to the voyage including passage tickets and contracts to landing cards and immigrant certificates of vaccination.

Once you know when your ancestors crossed the ocean, you can find many brochures, photographs, postcards for most of the transatlantic steamship lines to supplement the information you have.  Get an idea of what the voyage was like by reviewing the information for passengers section of many of the passenger lists from the early 1900s through the 1930s.  Although we may not have the specific passenger list that contains the name of your ancestor, we have thousands throughout the period we cover.

If your ancestor crossed the ocean in steerage, it is very unlikely that any list was created listing passengers in steerage (with exception of the German steamship lines).  Steamship lines created most of their printed materials for the benefit of cabin class passengers.  Most of the interior photographs onboard ships were of the cabin class areas.  The passage contracts pertaining to steerage passengers are very revealing of the conditions and treatment of primarily immigrant passengers.

Factors and Events Effecting Immigration

Recessions and Economic Depressions had significant effect on steamship lines.  There was the Panic of 1893 and 1907, and the Great Depression of the 1930s preceded by the Stock market crash of 29 October 1929.  Other events affecting the steamship lines were the Steamship Trust created by J. P. Morgan and other financiers in 1902; Changes in US Immigration Policy, especially 1921 that significantly impacted many steamship lines that had carried a great number of immigrants to the US and Canada.  From that point forward, Cabin Third Class and Tourist Classes of travel replaced what was left of the immigrant steerage class.

Prohibition also influenced steamship travel from 1920 to 1933 where those who preferred access to alcohol favored the European lines and those who believed in Prohibition often favored the US Based steamship lines, which were more restricted in their carrying of alcoholic beverages.

Going in Style

Our vintage fashion section will assist you in understanding what clothing styles were worn in different time periods and our arts and entertainment section will provide a background in motion pictures, music and concert programs – especially those taking place onboard the steamships.  The Archives also contains an excellent collection of vintage menus from numerous voyages and a variety of classes and special occasions on many steamship lines from the late 1800s through the 1950s.  Exceptional graphics can be found throughout all of our collections.  Low-resolution images are free to use for non-commercial purposes and high-resolution images are available for a reasonable cost, based on your usage of the image.

Sampling of Tweets about the GG Archives

Nov 10, 13:57 lynncorrigan Fascinating and useful archive for social / family history mainly of Steamship and Ocean Liner documents #genealogy
Oct 16, 18:54 dartg8trDavid Far cry from today! Immigration Archives - How Immigrants Are Inspected at Ellis Island circa 1903
Oct 16, 00:28 LethalThought Yes, we are a nation of immigrants but we have never had a history of just letting in anyone without somekind of...
Sep 21, 11:37 LynneCleaver for anyone investigating their emigrating family [UK to Canada or USA] you won't get much better than this for info
Sep 20, 18:26 TAC_NISO Amazing! 1911 report on "steerage class horrors" is actually more space than on a @Boeing 757
Aug 19, 13:20 Zipexec @IngrahamAngle @The_Lawn_Doctor here's what my Grandparents went through to enter USA &THEY became citizens!!!
Aug 1, 21:34 JodesinAZ This is a bit lengthy, but worth the time/effort. First-hand account of steerage travel in 1898. Having been...
Jul 19, 00:17 TitanicSociety RT @TitanicStories: This ship played a massive role in the story of Titanic. And so did its captain...
Jul 2, 19:24 crossboy56jr A History of Castle Garden Immigration Station (1888) European illegal immigration to the USA
Jun 23, 18:27 gbhicks @jpalmiotti This might be useful, for a rough idea of travel time. Hope it helps.
Jun 23, 18:13 otherjmac @jpalmiotti Looks like avg pssngr steamer speed then was ~23 knots. Find the distance from Italy, you're in business.
Jun 23, 18:02 cdh111 @jpalmiotti Give this website a try. It's especially good if you're searching for immigration records.
May 27, 02:21 Marcus_Judge 100 years ago. The SS St. Paul of the American Line, set sail from Southampton for New York.#100yearsagotoday
May 25, 11:46 tcyw Ship Tonnage Explained - Deadweight, Cargo, Gross, Net, Displacement via@sharethis
Apr 14, 23:13 reedes @ColOfCuriosity Had you seen these souvenir ship's log cards from ocean liner era? to compile one myself.
Apr 8, 19:30 biblioteq_tress @Chet_Kincaid 5/Because I love shipping/ocean trade history got sucked into looking thru this
Jan 26, 12:40 mtngun @StephanieKelton WPA wages depended on skill & location.
Nov 30, 17:27 SaraLynnHoyt Gotta love the internet. 25 years ago when I first started writing historical fiction, I had to get all my...
Nov 30, 16:22 shipmenus Breakfast Menus from the Voyages of Steamships and Ocean Liners via @sharethis
Oct 30, 19:04 LuxemExposed A Summary of the Immigration Laws of the United States from 1882 #Letzebuerg#Gambia
Oct 23, 08:26 Nick_Britten RT @valmayuk: Social and Cultural History, Ship Passenger Lists, Vintage Brochures, Steamships, WW1, WW2, WPA
Sep 29, 09:34 CurtGreen1 Here's pics of the Baltic interior and Adriatic. Adriatic was Captain Smith's second ship.
Aug 28, 05:49 PencilBloke What's that, you want loads of stuff about ocean-going passenger ships of the late 19th & early 20th centuries? HERE:
Mar 26, 12:15 FictionWitch If you like ocean liners, or Edwardiana generally, this is a good spot Wonderful online archive
Dec 11, 13:27 NorwayUS Learn how to make traditional Norwegian Christmas ricepudding with raspberry sauce. Find the recipe here:
Nov 24, 12:50 CastleClinton Read this harrowing account of an immigrant experience through Castle Garden.

Military Archives

The GG Archives is renowned for its collection of US Naval Training Center graduation books in addition to an extensive collection of brochures, booklets, pamphlets and magazines produced by the US Military, particularly the U.S. Navy, from the late 1800s through the early 2000s.  We also have a number of Carrier Deployment Cruise Books and specific materials on World War I including the Draft and letters from King George V.

High Resolution Images and Reprints

High Resolution Images available at the Archives

We supply high-resolution images to production companies, authors, and genealogist like you - of historical documents including passenger lists, brochures, photographs, and other materials form the 1800s through 1954. See ordering information for services and digital images fees. Interested in owning a piece of history? We have many quality items in our collection for the discerning collector. Contact us at [email protected] with your interst.

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