Sunday, January 20, 2019

Philadelphia Bank Passage Order Books

A great resource on JewishGen--one that applies to immigrants of all religions, not just those who were Jewish--are the Philadelphia Bank Passage Order Books.  Relatives already in the United States could save up money to bring over relatives or friends still in Europe and arrange for their passage through various immigrant banks.

A combined effort between the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia indexed surviving books, and they can be invaluable for finding your relatives.  Even if your immediate family did not end up in Philadelphia, you may find that other family members did.  In fact, I recently found some of my own relatives that way:
Chaje Zupkiss Bank Passage Order, 1895

The index led me to the purchase of passage for "Chaje Zupkiss and one Infant."  Chaje was 22 and from Kuna--which is exactly where my Zubkis family was registered.  The passage was paid for by Jitzchok Zupkiss.

I hadn't seen any ship manifests for any Chaje Zupkiss/Zubkis from this time period, and believe me, I've looked.  The right side of the passage book gave me a bit more information about when she actually came over:
General Remarks for Chaje Zupkiss
The right column lists the ship and actual arrival date for each individual.  This one was a bit difficult to decipher, but once I looked at ships that arrived on that date into Philadlephia and New York, I realized that this was the S.S. Neckar, that arrived in New York on June 18, 1895.  But when I searched that ship for either a first name of Chaje or a surname of Zupkiss, I couldn't find her.

But I had enough information to figure out where she was.  By limiting the search to people arriving on the Neckar in June of 1895 who were born around 1873 (since Chaje was 22), I found her--indexed as "Chage Lupkiss"!  No wonder all of my searching hadn't found her.
Chaje Zupkiss Ship Manifest, 1895
As indicated by the bank's book, Chaje Zupkiss, aged 22, arrived with an infant.  The infant was 11 months old, and has a difficult-to-read name, possibly Leibe?

I actually had recently learned about this Chaje Zubkis.  I had posted a family list with her listed just a few weeks back--and I commented about how many Chajes were listed in the same household and how confusing this must be.  It seems that Itzko (based on the fact that Jitzchok purchased the ticket) and his wife Chaje came to America, actually before that 1903 family list was recorded.  Until this point, I hadn't realized that this branch was in America.  So now, time to investigate them more!

I wouldn't have found this branch of the family without these bank records.  So how do you search for your own family?
  1. Search through JewishGen's USA database.  You do need an account, but registration is free.
  2. If you find an entry that's of interest, you can use the information in JewishGen to see the original.  You'll want to go here and then click on the correct Steamship Agent on the left.
  3. Then find the appropriate book based on the year.  Most have indexes in the front of the book telling you which page your entry will be on; if not, the pages are in order of when the purchase was made.
  4. Good luck!
One extra bonus from these records--for Rosenbaum Bank records, they did not only index the name of the person for whom the passage was being bought, but they also indexed the purchaser's name.  This can open new venues of research as well, and I'm following one of those trails right now.

And speaking of Philadelphia, I'm speaking there next Sunday--an introductory talk on DNA.  If you're local, details are here.

You can now like my page on Facebook:

or .

Want to get future blog posts emailed to you automatically?
Enter your email address:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lara,
    It is a Z. Look at the L underneath it. The bottom is the same but the top isn’t.