This is a multivolume computer-produced listing of Italian immigrants to the U.S. during the period of maximum immigration, 1880 to the end of the century. Twelve volumes are planned, of which volumes 1, 2 (the volume under review), 3, and 4 have already appeared; volumes 5 and 6 are promised for late fall
Arrangement is by date of arrival of ships, nearly always docking at New York. Information given is precise day of arrival, name of ship, and port or ports of departure. Then follows a list of passengers, by family name, but not in any order. Each entry gives surname, first name, age, sex, the destination (nearly always New York), occupation, and the Italian city or village of origin. The last two categories are largely not present or unreliable. Few ships' agents were careful to record this information. In most cases the occupation, if given at all, is listed as "farmer," while on other ships the term for the entire manifest is "laborer." Still, some lists of occupations are quite detailed, though "peasant" does occur regularly, along with "cultivator." Codes or abbreviations are used for occupations, and codes for the Italian villages; a listing of these codes is given at the front, as well as a list of abbreviations for cities of destination
The total number of names in this volume is not given, but a flyer states that the 12 projected volumes will include about 900,000 names. It is not known whether the estimate of 900,000 means persons or families. The name index at the end of volume 2 runs to nearly 300 pages
It would be useful if the publisher, who presumably has all the data in computerized form, would offer a reference service or would make the data available on disk. For example, the question may arise as to how many people, or what families, emigrated from, say, Palermo or a smaller place like Mondello. Even though most arriving shiploads did not have this information listed, perhaps enough do to enable scholars to establish emigration patterns and genealogists to trace families when only place origin is known. Such a disk would also serve as a cumulative name index to the set
This entire work is a great service to genealogists and to librarians working in areas with large Italian immigrant populations. For all such it is a must buy.
The first volume in a series providing genealogists and historians with an extensive data base of Italian immigrants who came to the US between 1880 and 1899 (additional volumes will cover the 1900-1915 period). The passenger lists reproduced in these volumes are arranged in chronological order by date of arrival, and Italian passengers on these lists who disembarked at New York are published in their entirety. The lists make possible a detailed reconstruction of the movement of population from Italy by including information on the age, sex, occupation, residence, and putative destination of each passenger. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)