When researching passenger records online at the Ellis Island Foundation website in 2003 for Helen Barnes (1881-1973), I came across only one likely record for my husband’s grandmother. Some of the information seemed wrong, but I saved the record and printed it out. The family had thought she was born in County Offaly (County Kings), Ireland in 1887. We knew she had emigrated to the United States sometime before her marriage to Ernest Barnes in 1914. The passenger record below showed that an Ellen Barns had come to New York City on the 29th of April in 1908. Her last residence was Roscrea, Ireland.
Name: Barns, Ellen.
Ethnicity: British, Irish.
Place of Residence: Roscrea, Ireland.
Date of Arrival: April 29, 1908.
Age on Arrival: 24y.
Marital Status: S.
Ship of Travel: Campania.
Port of Departure: Queenstown, Cork, Munster, Ireland.
Page 0787-0788, line 0023.
Going to sister Hannie Barnes, 223 East 36th St., N.Y.
Home address: Jno. Barnes, Roscrea.
Height: 5 foot 7 inches. Hair: Dark Brown. Eyes: Brown. Occupation: Domestic.
When researching on Ancestry.com I took a closer look at the manifest, and facts slid into place. First hint for family research – always trust your instincts. Second hint – record what you have found, by printing out the record or keep a notebook dedicated to your genealogy. Third hint – when researching Irish records use a broad base of ten years plus or minus for the birth year.
Our Helen Barnes went by the name of Ellen Barns/Barnes in Ireland. After coming to the USA she changed the spelling of her given name and also the year of her birth from 1881 to 1887. Even as she left Ireland she started to make herself younger. Way to go, Nana!
Here is the section of the manifest for Ellen Barns showing she was leaving the household of John Barns, Dromakeen, Roscra, Ireland. Dromakeenan is a small village on the border of northern County Tipperary and southern County Offaly. Her brother, John Barnes, was the only one of Barnes twelve siblings to stay on the family farm. In some records the farm is shown at Kilcolman or the townland of Aughadouglas. When Helen Barnes’ father died in 1892 the place of death was Dromakeenan, County Kings (Offaly).
My eldest daughter and I took a trip to Ireland in 2008, and we met up with one of my husband’s cousins, and his family. He also had been doing family research on his grandmother. When we looked at the passenger record together, we realized we were meeting in Ireland exactly one hundred years after Helen Barnes’s journey! Ellen Barns set sail from Queenstown, County Cork on the SS Campania on the 25th of April 1908, and she arrived at Ellis Island five days later.
Good luck searching for your family’s departures and arrivals.