Your Family Belongs in a Museum: Belgian Red Star Line Seeks Emigrant Sagas

Here's your chance to capture a piece of posterity for your family! The Belgian Red Star Line Museum -- which will essentially be a European counterpart to Ellis Island -- is looking for emigrant memorabilia and stories.

In the spring of 2012, the Red Star Line Museum of migration will open in Antwerp, Belgium. This new museum owes its name to the shipping company that -- between 1873 and 1939 -- brought more than two million passengers from the port of Antwerp to America and Canada. It will be located in the original departure halls in the old harbor district, at the very quay where hundreds of thousands of emigrants bound for the U.S. and Canada took their final steps on European soil.

Are you one of their descendants? Take a look at your ancestors' passenger arrival records. Did they depart from Antwerp? If so, there's a very good chance you're a Red Star Line descendant. Just google the name of the ship and "Red Star Line" and see if you get a match. Hint: many ships with names ending with "land" (Pennland, Zeeland, Westernland, etc.) were part of the Red Star Line.

If you find any Red Star Line ancestors, the museum would love to hear from you. The main exhibition of the museum will tell the history of Red Star Line and of Antwerp as an emigrant departure port. They want to focus heavily on the story of the countless passengers who boarded the ships longing for their chance at the American Dream. The intent is for visitors to experience their journey, with all the trials, accomplishments, hope, fears, expectations and disappointments it brought. And to achieve that, they are searching for individual and family migration stories.

Would you like to celebrate the journey that shaped your family history? Pay homage to those family members who took their destiny into their hands? Have you done already a little research? Do you still have letters, luggage, diaries, photos or other testimony to their journey in your family possessions? Let them know! Perhaps your family history will be displayed to the world in the future museum!

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