Wondering why your immigrant ancestor chose to live in Cleveland instead of Pittsburgh? Little Rock, not Los Angeles? Memphis, not Miami? The answers might lie in the records of the Industrial Removal Office, a scary name for a good organization. Founded in 1901, the IRO assisted immigrants in finding employment and better living conditions while helping with assimilation into American society. IRO agents, often working in partnership with B’nai B’rith or other Jewish fraternal groups, traveled around the country securing jobs for immigrants who would then be sent to those locations to establish their new life.
Records from the Industrial Removal Office including case files, correspondence, ledger books, and reports by local agents can be found at the American Jewish Historical Society. This talk will focus on the outsized role played by Ohio, and specifically Cleveland, in the history of the IRO. This presentation will examine a case study to demonstrate how to use the online index, and how to find immigrant case files, correspondence, and reports.
This lecture is held in partnership with the Jewish Genealogy Society of Cleveland.