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Images 81 through 109 of a certain collection of ship manifest records on Ancestry.com represent the passengers of the Tenyo Maru, which arrived in San Francisco on 10 May 1915 after calling in a number of ports in Japan and China.

These are the two-page ship's manifest records, but unfortunately, the second page for each set of entries is missing. Is there a way to tell whether these second pages were preserved, and if so, where they can be found? Is the only recourse to go to NARA in Washington DC to examine the records sequentially?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I suggest that your first port of call is Ancestry, the creators of the database. Missing information is an issue of database quality.

From the information provided by Ancestry on this dataset, it is not clear whether the second pages that had no data filled in are included. There is also no indicator of which manifests have two page entries, making it hard to identify where pages are missing.

If Ancestry cannot clarify, then I think you will need to consult the originals at NARA. Then you would be in a good position to identify the problem and communicate that to Ancestry.

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Judging by the titles on the extant pages, these were two-page manifests. Of course if the second pages were not filled out, they would be less likely to include them. – Gene Golovchinsky Dec 12 '12 at 15:55
1  
I reported the problem & Pparently was the second person to do so. Looks like Ancestry.com places some weight on multiple reports of the same problem, so it makes sense to get in touch with them when you discover such things. – Gene Golovchinsky Dec 13 '12 at 17:50

The links in the original question are not valid any longer, but I will post a general answer to help others with similar problems. It is treacherous to link to individual records or images without also citing what database was examined -- re-arrangement of websites or re-publication of databases can obscure what record set was meant.

Each collection on Ancestry has an About this Database entry, and individual record detail pages contain source information like this:

Source Information

Ancestry.com. California, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

Original data: Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

View all sources.

Clicking on the 'View all sources' link shows what record sets have been put together under this 'umbrella' collection.

A passenger list for an arrival in San Francisco for 10 May 1915 might be in one of these microfilm collections:

Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1893-1953. NARA microform publication M1410, 429 Rolls. NAI 4498993. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787–2004, Record Group 85. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

or:

Customs Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, 1903-1918. NARA microform publication M1412, 13 Rolls. NAI 4478116. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787–2004, Record Group 85. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

or

Records of Arrivals and Disposition of Japanese Vessel Passengers at San Francisco, California. NARA microform publication A4041. NAI 3882243. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787–2004, Record Group 85. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.

If you can see the first page of the manifest, first identify which collection of original records contains the original manifest. Make a note of which manifest pages are involved, not only by Ancestry's image numbers, but by the information seen in the images (e.g. which class of passenger, and by stamped page numbers on the manifests themselves).

Next, browse back to the start of the virtual 'microfilm roll' to see if there are any target cards that describe problems with the filming, or a reference paper which describes how the records are arranged.

If there is no paper describing the records on the microfilm itself (because Ancestry did not include that in its online publication), check NARA's site for a Reference Information Paper or other research guides. This page on RG85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1891--1957 lists records of arrivals by port, along with links to PDFs which describe the contents and arrangement of records on each microfilm publication.

The records on M1410 and M1412 are arranged chronologically by date of arrival. I see the Tenyo Maru in both lists, but I do not see an arrival for 10 May 1915 in the PDFs which describe M1410 and M1412.

That leaves A4041, which I do not see in the list of Microfilm Publications and Original Records Digitized by Our Digitization Partners. A search of the Microfilm Catalog for "Japanese Vessel Passengers" and for "A4041" also returned no results.

Turning to The National Archives Catalog, I searched by the catalog identifier 3882243 to find its catalog entry.

In part the entry says:

  • Other Title(s): Record of Arrivals and Disposition of Japanese Vessel Passengers at San Francisco, California
  • General Note(s): The Immigration and Naturalization Service destroyed the original records after microfilming.
  • Arrangement: Arranged in chronological order by date of arrival at San Francisco, California.

This tells us that (assuming my identification is correct) if we went to NARA, we can't look at the original records, because they no longer exist. The microfilm is all we have.

You could then:

  1. Look for the same microfilm publication at another site, such as FamilySearch.org or the Internet Archive, to see if you can view a different digitization of the microfilm or
  2. Contact Archives 1 in Washington DC to ask an archivist to check the microfilm to see if the missing pages are elsewhere on the roll, or if they have any further information or a reference information paper that could help you. The general address for inquiries at NARA is inquire@nara.gov.
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