Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ancestry Updates U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s

Venture into any library with a serious genealogical collection and you'll find volumes referenced as Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s. They're in both the Ottawa Main and Centrepointe libraries.

Early passenger lists are rare. Filby gleaned records from books, journal articles and original records to provide bibliographic entries indexed by family names. This Ancestry update incorporates 5,444,446 records.

Filby's original publication was in 1981, 37 years ago. It's still valuable although much of the content is legacy. For example, it includes many entries for Ontario citing Bruce Elliott's Index to the 1871 Census of Ontario; and the Ancestry listing makes it look as if those people arrived in 1871! Beware!

Who was P(ercy) William Filby? According to this biographical sketch Filby was born in Cambridge, England, on 10 December, 1911. He joined the staff of Cambridge University Library while taking German courses at the University. During the Second World War he was a member of the cryptographic team at Bletchley Park where Germany's ULTRA code was broken. On marriage in 1957 he moved to the US working at the Peabody Institute Library in Baltimore and subsequently as director of the Maryland Historical Society. He died at his home in Savage, Maryland, on 2 November, 2002.

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