From Despair to Cargoes of Hope: WWII’s Displaced Persons – C. Ann Staley

April 1st, 2019 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

From Despair to Cargoes of Hope: WWII’s Displaced Persons

Session: S460, Time & Date: Saturday, 11 May 2019, 4:00 p.m.


Many immigrants entered the U.S. under the Displaced Persons Act following World War II. Is your ancestor named in the record sets created?

The purpose of this act, and its amendments, was to “To authorize for a limited period of time the admission into the United States of certain European displaced persons for permanent residence, and for other purposes.” Based on specific criteria, eligible displaced persons (DPs) could be admitted to the U.S. if they would not become a public charge and have safe and sanitary housing and employment without displacing some other person. The displaced person or refugee was the concern of the International Refugee Organization. For the U.S., the Displaced Persons Commission was put into place to oversee the act’s enactment.

Many records were created by the U.S. Government and the organizations that took care of the DPs. We will be looking at newspaper and magazine articles covering the “Cargoes of Hope” (the transport ships carrying the DPs); Records of the International Refugee Organization; Records of the Displaced Persons Commission (Record Group 278); Orphan Children’s Case Files and Correspondence; National Catholic Welfare Conference Records; and more will help us discover what is available and how they can be utilized in our own stories.

Ann will be available for one-on-one chats at the conference, and also exhibiting at Ann-Mar Genealogy Trips, Booth 519.

BioAnn Staley is an educator, consultant, and co-leader of Ann-Mar Genealogy Trips. She is on the faculty, The National Institute for Genealogical Studies; Education Chair, Jacksonville Genealogical Society, Inc.; Vice President, Genealogical Speakers Guild; Director, Florida State Genealogical Society. She has authored several articles for NGS Magazine, and co-authored the NGS Research in the States Series-Florida. Her specialties are Methodology, Research Sources, Computer Resources, Vital Records and their Sources, Conference Planning, and assisted genealogy research trips.