The GAUER Family

  What do you do if you find a match?


FIRST, check the "Source References" table at the bottom of the Emmigration page to find the name of the document where your ancestors name was found.

Now let' s find that reference: If the reference is a website then just follow the link given in the Reference table. For all other reference documents the best place to start is the Family History Library of the LDS church. See the LDS Family History library catalog and search on the title given in the reference to see if they have the reference. If the reference is a book or a website all you can do is get the original information and check to see if there is further information there which could help you. Unfortunately, other that my direct ancestor, Rudolph GAUER, I have no further information about GAUERs found on the Emigration page beyond what the references provide.



Many of the entries in the Emigration page are of GAUERs who emigrating by ship and all ships arriving in the USA and Canada were required, even from the earliest days of immigration, to provide a list of all the passengers disembarking from their ship. The US National Archives and the Canadian National Archives have microfilm copies of almost all of these shiplists.

To access shiplists for ships arriving in US ports (New York, Baltimore, etc) you can either go in person to one of the US Archives regional centers ( (I have been in the Seattle regional archive) OR you can get a microfilm copy of a particular port and year via Interlibrary Loan from your local public library. For Canadian ports (Halifax, Quebec) you can get microfilms of a particular port and year on interlibrary loan from the Canadian Archives (at the "Immigration and Citizenship" link on this page).

These ship lists can be anything from neat printing on a form to a poorly handwritten list on a scrap of paper. Some of them are so soiled or damaged as to be unreadable so be prepared. Also, there are no indexes included with the lists. They are ordered in simple chronological order. There are a couple of published indexes (e.g. Filby, P. William: Passenger and Immigration Lists Index; Gale Research; 1988) which you can get on Interlibrary loan but they are very fragmentary.

So, without knowing the exact date your ancestor arrived in North America you are faced with a very daunting task finding a mention of them in a ship list. I searched ship lists for Canadian ports in the Canadian archives for 2 years looking for a record of the arrival of my Gr-grandfather in Canada in 1890. I had absolutely no success with this search. Finally by pure luck I found a record in "Germans to America"1 of him and his family arriving in New York of all places. From there they proceeded by train to Winnipeg.

The largest collection of German immigration records is the "Germans to America" Series1. This series has reached over 65 volumes at this time. It covers the 1850s to the late 1890s. Each book has an alphabetical index of surnames in that book at the back. These books are printed lists transcribed from the original microfilms so they are easy to read and I have found the accuracy is reasonably good. Only immigrants of "German" ancestry are supposedly included so this is by no means a complete index. The Morman Family History Library in Salt Lake has a complete set of these books (Ref: 973 W2ger) and I'm sure other major libraries in the USA and Canada have a set (I know Seattle has a set). Contact your local library to get copies via Interlibrary loan.

In the United States, the Ellis Island project (an 8 year project to create an index of the more than 22 million immigrants who arrived through Ellis Island in New York) has opened its website at For an index of arrivals before 1892 when Ellis Island was opened see the Castle Garden archive which has indexes of earlier arrivals (including at the "Barge Office" which was used for a time as the entry point for immigrants).Castle Garden is now Castle Clinton National Monument.

If you can't find your ancestors disembarking in North America perhaps you can find your ancestors embarking. The busiest emigration port in Germany was Hamburg and if your ancestor boarded their ship in Hamburg, passenger lists have been transcribed and are available on the internet. See this link for information about these records. When the Hamberg government initially started to compile indexes these embarkation records the indexes and images of the records were made available briefly on the internet for free but unfortunately at some point they turned the images of the original ship lists and the indexes over to where they are now available to search for free but download requires payment. The FHL also has microfilm copies of these records. See this LDS Guide to the Hamberg Shiplists for complete details on finding your ancestor in the Hamberg lists and accessing microfilm copies of these records.

A good general index of Immigration and Emigration records exists at this site. It is provided by the Germany Roots - German Genealogy website.

  1. Ira Glazier & P.W. Filby; Germans to America: Lists of Passengers; Scholarly Resources; 1988-2002; 67 Volumes (Vnn = Volume nn); LDS FHL Ref: 973 W2ger

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