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Friday, November 10, 2006

Celebrity Spotting at Ancestry.com

Even if you have no immigrant relatives to find, it might be fun to poke through the Ancestry.com Immigration Collection for famous names while it's free. Here are a few I've found:

Desi Arnaz arrived in Key West from Havana in 1934 at age 17.

This was evidently director Alfred Hitchcock's first trip to America, aboard the Queen Mary in 1937.

Two U.S. Secretaries of State were immigrants: Henry Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred) came with his parents in 1938, having fled from Nazi Germany; and Madeleine Albright (born Marie Jana Korbelov√°) arrived in 1948.

The von Trapp family of Sound of Music fame arrived in 1939. Also in 1939 came William Patrick Hitler, a nephew of the dictator (ironically, aboard the Normandie).

Steve Danko mentioned Thursday that the collection includes crew lists for World War II naval ships. This encompasses Liberty Ships and Merchant Marine vessels, like the one that brought Woodrow "Woodie" Guthrie into New York Harbor in 1944 (on the same page is listed fellow folk singer Gilbert "Cisco" Houston).

Audrey Hepburn arrived in October 1951, just weeks before appearing in her first Broadway play, Gigi.

William Faulkner passed through New York in December 1950, returning from the delivery of his Nobel Banquet Speech.

And, from the famous to the infamous, since-deported SS guard John "Ivan the Terrible" Demjanjuk slinked into the country with his wife and daughter in 1952.

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