Author Topic: "Fictitious" NY Addresses on Ellis Island Manifests [390 - 392 Grand St. NY]  (Read 2467 times)

Offline Dimvids

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Here's some information that might be useful to many people who are
researching family members who came to New York City through Ellis
Island in the early 20th century.

While researching Ellis Island records for my father's family from
Belarus (that is; WEINER from Shchedrin and Rechitsa, and EINBUND /
AINBUND from Shchedrin and Parichi) I kept coming across the
destination addresses: 390, 391 and 392 Grand St. in New York City.
Sometimes these addresses included the note "c/o Oppenheim". I also
found the same addresses, "c/o Oppenheim", listed for many people
who had no connection with my family.

I Googled the addresses and "Oppenheim" and found a New York Times
article dated January 4, 1903 in the Times Archive. The article's
headline is "Societies To Plead For Immigrants; Public Protest Against
Increase in Deportations Planned." According to the article it was
common practice for new immigrants to list their destination using the
addresses of various "small banking houses, numerous on the east side"
of New York. "Henry Oppenheimer's banking house" at "392 Grand street"
is specifically cited.

Evidently, new immigrants often rented mailboxes at these banking
houses because mail that was addressed to them at tenement houses
frequently went undelivered. (In the article it's stated that the
delivery of mail in tenements was extremely unreliable. Tenement
apartments were often occupied by several immigrant families living
piled together, and these families typically made frequent moves.)

At the time the article was written immigration officials were
increasing the number of deportation proceedings against the
immigrants who listed these mailbox addresses as their US destination
while being processed through Ellis Island. The officials cited these
accommodation addresses as "fictitious".

Here's the article's URL. You may need to register at the NY Times
site (free) to see the PDF file.