Monday, November 14, 2005

State of Wisconsin Collection, Western Emmigration Co., Castle Garden, Jane Devlin's Data Site

A new on-line resource is available for free searching at the University of Wisconsin, “State of Wisconsin Digital Collection” at

Many Central New Yorkers migrated to the upper mid-western states and Wisconsin was certainly one of the popular states, rich in farming country, cheap land and a great connection to the sea through the Great Lakes.

I have had a long time interest in researching several of the families of Kenosha and Racine counties in Wisconsin because that area was founded and settled by some of my family members that became stock holders in “The Western Emigration Company” that was formed from residents of Hannibal and several of the nearby towns of Ira, Cato, Granby, and Lysander.

Here is a very short mention of this company from the Oswego County GenWeb site: “By 1835, the population of the Town of Hannibal [Oswego County, NY] was up to 2,204 people. It was during this time that the Western Emigration Company was formed in Hannibal for the purpose of establishing a new settlement in the West. Hannibal residents were directly responsible for the founding of Kenosha, the fifth largest city in Wisconsin.”

To search for Immigrations a good site to check is:

Castle Garden, is at the tip of Battery Park in lower Manhattan and it was the largest official American immigration center until the opening of Ellis Island in 1892. Although Castle Garden was in operation from 1852 to 1890, this website currently contains immigration records taken from ship manifests from 1820 to 1913. The history of the Castle is interesting in itself. It was built as a fort during the War of 1812, and has served multiple duties ever since. At one time it was an aquarium and is now part of the National Parks System and is open as a historical site and it is also the place where you purchase your tickets for the boat excursion ride out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Here is a great site that has been put up by Jane Devlin and a group of her friends that is heavy in content for Middlesex County, Connecticut, but has quite a bit of good material from New York State. They have been busy little beavers extracting all kinds of data from myriad sources and putting them all on-line. (Bless you all.) Jane named her site in honor of her grandparents’ surnames so you are not apt to locate this enormous collection of material by the use of many search engines and it was brought to my attention by one of my website visitors, Coralynn Brown. Check it out:

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