Inherent Omniscience

Inherent Omniscience – the ability to know anything that one chooses to know and can be known.

What I love most about delving into my family history, is when you find something that no one else in your family knows about. Or finding a document that no one else in your family has. The more I keep finding, the more I think ‘there is more out there’ to be known. There is plenty to know and be known about my ancestors, and I choose to know because it helps me better understand where my family came from. It helps me understand the hardships they would have had to go through to make a life for themselves, which then in turn puts my life into perspective making me appreciate the life that I have.

Whilst I was in Malta last month, I managed to get a copy of my buż nannu Pawl’s passports. It was well-known in our family that he used to import livestock from Tunis. I managed to find out that he imported from Algiers also. What wasn’t known was that he also travelled to New York in 1920.

I sat down over the weekend with a family friend who is quite cluey with Maltese migration, and asked him to have a look at these passports with me. I found that he had travelled to Tunisia and Algeria multiple times (not just the 2 times as I had initially thought). We confirmed that he travelled from Malta via Italy and France to New York. I googled passenger lists and found he arrived on 2 July 1920.

It is known in my family that nannu had family in Canada, so there may be a possibility that there is some sort of a connection there.

Upon finding his name (and his son’s) on the passenger list, I found that the port they disembarked at was Ellis Island. Now, Ellis Island was a gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. Apparently 40% of those living in the U.S. have a relative that passed through Ellis Island. I am not sure if I can obtain any further documentation attached to buż nannu Pawl and his touch with Ellis Island, but nevertheless I will dig further to see what is available.

I don’t think he would have imported anything from the U.S. as I have a feeling he went there to suss out what work was like and if it was good enough or better to migrate there on a permanent basis with his family.

Last night I printed the passports out so that I can decipher and translate as most of the stamps and writings on it are in French/Italian, and from there build a list of dates where he travelled in and out of Malta. From what I can see so far, I don’t think he spent that long in New York. I only got through one of the pages of his passports, so watch this space for more to be known 😉

Attached to his name on the passenger’s list is an address of where he stayed. I have made contact with the archives in the county of Essex to try and obtain the deed to the house at the time of his stay. According to their speedy response, it seemed to just be a shared residence, possibly as boarding house? So the journey continues…

Passenger List NY 1920_02


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