I knew that my great-grandmother arrived in the US from Italy in about 1914. When I searched the Ellis Island database I found her easily. Unfortunately, I found her twice. Let me be specific. My great-grandmother, her daughter and her niece are all listed on two different ship's manifests, one (the Berlin) arriving in NY Jan 22, 1914, and the other (the Carpathia) arriving in NY Mar 22, 1914.
There is no question that these are the documents of the same women. Aside from the names being the same, so are the ages, the listed relationships, the (very small) town of origin, the person and place to which they were traveling--are all the same. It also does not seem to be an indexing problem of one manifest having been duplicated accidentally. The pages are different, the handwriting is different and the pages have each ship's name in the header.
How could something like this occur? Assuming that it was extremely unlikely for all three women to have traveled by ship from Italy to the US twice in 2 months, my assumption is that some sort of fraud was involved. Could my relatives have sent their papers back to Italy to be re-used by another group of women of similar age? Did that sort of thing happen often? Does anyone have any other possible explanation?
And, what kind of papers would have been required for immigrants at that time, anyway?