Citing records from, Statue of Liberty—Ellis Island Foundation

Dear Editor,

I am attempting to use the example in EE 11.17, Passenger Manifests: Online Images, for citing the manifests present on the Statue of Liberty—Ellis Island Foundation website.

I started off as follows:

Source List Entry
Statue of Liberty—Ellis Island Foundation. Database with images. 2019.

First Reference Note
1 Manifest, S. S. California, 3 May 1909, stamped p. 136, line 8, Charles Murison, age 17; images, “Passenger Search,” Statue of Liberty— Ellis Island Foundation ( : accessed 10 April 2019).

Subsequent Note
11 Manifest, S. S. California, 3 May 1909, stamped p. 136, line 8, Charles Murison, age 17.

However; the full sheet typically spans two images, but the example used as my model does not seem to reflect that.

The passenger name and age is on the left-most image and the page number is on the right-most image. The line numbers are on both pages (as on all the image sets). Half the sheet title is on each page (departure and arrival). Furthermore, there is a List "letter" on the right-hand image and this is also seems to be relevant, since there are several folios per landing.

There is really nothing much on the left-hand image to tie it to the right-hand one except the sequential image numbers. I don't like using image numbers as identifiers, but I see no other way. Even the website warns one to check backwards and forwards from the image returned by the search to make sure one has the correct image(s).

That said; I know I have the correct left-and-right pair, because the passengers father paid for the ticket and I see his name on the right-most image on the same line as his son is on in the left-most image.

Have you any suggestions on how to address this situation?

(I should note that the example 11.17, page 577, 3rd ed., appears to be missing the closing parenthesis.)

Submitted byEEon Thu, 04/11/2019 - 14:03

History-Hunter, there three issues we can discuss.

1. Your citation features the manifest but there's no indication of where that manifest exists aside from the Ellis Island website. Where did the website get the image? This is essential, because websites not only come and go but they also drop things, add things, and change their configurations. This one site has done more than one of that more than once since the first edition of EE in 2007.

2. The citation draft cites the website but not the database. There are several different databases at that website.

3. An exact URL is badly needed. Before I venture further with a suggestion how to handle the double-page entry (for which I will need to study whether they use page number or folio numbers, etc.), I'll wait until you address items 1, 2, and 3. Then I'll have a URL to lead me to your document.

Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Thu, 04/11/2019 - 15:16

Dear Editor;

1) The website is a bit cryptic about the precise source of the source (I know it's the NARA microfilms).

However; I managed to decipher the Ellis Island image numbers used on the Ellis Island site after a closer look at the way the original NARA microfilm was archived. Given that the root image names directly reflect the naming of the original NARA microfilm, I suspect that the image names will remain relatively stable and perhaps the displayed image number can be utilized in a citation.

Take, for example, an image with a name of "t715-12561080". This for the image for Charles Murison (above). Note that the companion image is "t715-12561081".

T715 => Root of the Publication Number

              for NARA Publication

              Title “Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1897--1957”,

              Record Group Number 85,

              Record Group Title “Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service”.

1256 = Microfilm Roll Number

             (This is actually found in NARA Publication Number T715G, consisting of 200 Rolls)

             Roll 1256 contains Volumes 2768-2770 and pertains to a Beginning date of May 3rd 1907 per the

             NARA site document:

1080 = Image Number

           (Likely a digitized frame number due to the way in which images are presented.

            However; NARA did not specify down to this level.)

2) I'm not aware of there being any other database at the site other than the stated "Passenger Search", which is presented when I log into the site.

3) The URL for the record for Charles Murison is:

It is rather long and it is not a permalink (it is subject to change), so I was trying to do as the EE book suggests and reference the main site and give the search terms. Unfortunately; there is no way to directly search for the companion image. You need to look at the images before and after what was found via the search. Once found, there is really no common page or folio number that both share.

Submitted byEEon Thu, 04/11/2019 - 21:22

History-Hunter, the link you provide goes to the "Passenger Record" database. To see the other databases, articles, etc., that are available at the website, we start with the root page.

If we start at the "Passenger Record" database, then to get to your images--which are deliberately warped so that we cannot download a clear enough copy to be used for evidence--you have to click on a subsidiary tab "Ship Manifests."  From there, you have image numbers.

Since all of this is part of the database and accessible only through the database, it would be best to use a waypath-and-breadcrumbs citation that follows this format:

"Name of Database," database with images, Name of Website (URL : date) > Ship Manifest > image numbers 1082–1083 [etc.] > for [Identify specific item]; ....

Then you would want to say that the database does not identify the original source but it appears to be ... [etc., describing what you have concluded from your very commendable outside study of NARA sources].


Submitted byEEon Thu, 04/11/2019 - 22:19

Post script ... Re the closing parens. Thanks for your eagle eye. I'm guessing that you're using the third edition. That's the only edition that gremlin appeared in. We caught it in the third edition, revised.


Submitted byHistory-Hunteron Fri, 04/12/2019 - 09:05

Dear Editor;

Thank you for the feedback and suggestions for dealing with this popular website.