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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Find Your Immigrant Ancestors — Manifests and Passenger Lists

US Atlantic Ports Passenger Lists, 1820-1873 and 1893-1959 for Elisabeth Linton
The act of entering a non-native country for the purpose of permanent residence is called "immigration." A person immigrates into a country. The act of leaving the home country for permanent removal is termed "emigration." There are records documenting both the arrival of an immigrant in the new country and the exit of the person from the homeland. The records maintained about the movement may contain names, ages, occupations, destinations and, infrequently, the place of origin or birth. Until the passage of the Page Act of 1875, there were no governmental restrictions for entering into the United States or the previously established English Colonies. Most immigration studies and books focus on the waves of European immigrants that arrived in the United States during and after the 1800s. However, it is important to recognize that immigrants began coming to North America in the 1500s and there were several permanent settlements in what is now the United States in that time period. Both France and Spain had established settlements in North America long before the first English speaking immigrants arrived in 1607 at Jamestown, Virginia.

Some of the earliest immigration records are the lists of passengers on boats coming to America. One of the most comprehensive of the historical studies of this huge river of immigration is "The Great Migration Study Project." Here is a brief description of the project from GreatMigration.org:
The goal of the Great Migration Study Project is to create comprehensive biographical and genealogical accounts of all immigrants to New England from 1620 to 1640, from the arrival of the Mayflower to the decline of immigration resulting from the beginning of the Civil War in England. The Project was conceived by Robert Charles Anderson and was proposed to the New England Historic Genealogical Society early in 1988. Anderson and the Society quickly reached an agreement and the Project officially began on 15 November 1988.
The key issue in using immigration records for genealogical research is connecting the names on the passenger lists and other associated documents with the immigrant once they have arrived in America. It is all too easy to make the assumption that the person with the same name is the same person. There is no lack of records, although it seems that the one you are looking for always seems to be missing. Another obstacle in connecting your ancestor to his or her European origin is the fact that many immigrants altered or changed their names at the time of their entry into America or even before arrival. Finding out the original name may take some extensive detective work. 

The FamilySearch.org Research Wiki, starting with an article entitled, "United States Emigration and Immigration" has extensive links and explanations of the process and details of immigration into America and each of the states. The U.S. Census Bureau also has extensive, although general, information about the foreign-born population of the United States from 1850-1990. The number of books, magazine articles, journal articles, websites and other information about immigration can be overwhelming. 

The U.S. National Archives has immigration records for arrivals in the United States from foreign ports from about 1820 to 1982. These records are arranged by port of arrival. The most common ports of arrival were the following:
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • New York City, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Los Angeles, California
  • San Francisco, California
I have discussed border crossings in another post. See "Find Your Immigrant Ancestors -- Border Crossings and Other Records." Sometimes, it is possible to find the passenger list from the name of the ship using arrival and departure records. Here is a selected list of websites with ship arrivals and departures:
The image at the beginning of this post illustrates a typical passenger list. The image shows the arrival of my Great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Linton and her children in Passamaquoddy, Maine from New Brunswick, Canada in 1851. A ship manifest is a document listing the cargo, passengers and crew of a ship, accordingly, a "passenger list" is included in the ship's manifest. Searching for passenger lists has been simplified due to their inclusion in online searchable databases. The most extensive is that on Ancestry.com but you should be aware of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, another extensive resource. Here is a selected list of websites containing passenger lists.
The list could go on and on; as I noted, there are an overwhelming number of records. There are some very useful compilations of records in books. There are multi-volume series of books about immigrants that are available in some larger libraries. I will list one of the volumes of each series below for reference, but unfortunately, the each book in each series has usually been cataloged separately. These include the following titles usually published by Scholarly Resources Inc.:
  • Germans to America
  • Italians to America
  • Irish to America
  • Russians to America
Here is a selection of books containing information about immigrants by category.

Assisted Immigrants’ Arrivals at Victorian Ports, 1839-1871: Index to Ships’ Passenger Lists. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1985.

Colletta, John Philip. They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record. Orem, Utah: Ancestry, 2002.

Daniels, Roger. Coming to America: A History of Immigration and Ethnicity in American Life. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1990.

Dobson, David. Ships from Ireland to Early America, 1623-1850. Baltimore, MD: Printed for Clearfield Co. by Genealogical Pub. Co., 1999.

Early Irish Emigrants to America, 1803-1806. S.l.: s.n.

Genealogy.com. “Russians to America, 1850-1896 Passenger and Immigration Lists.” Genealogy.com, 2001.

Glazier, Ira A. Emigration from the United Kingdom to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2006.

Glazier, Ira A, and P. William Filby. Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1988.

———. Italians to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports, 1880-1899. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1992.

Grubb, Farley Ward. German Immigrant Servant Contracts Registered at the Port of Philadelphia, 1817-1831. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1994.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Immigrant Records, 1884-1952. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Microfilmed by IMI for the Balch Institute, 1980.

Irish Genealogical Foundation (U.S.). Names of Irish Passengers to America before 1850: A Selection Listing over 7,000 Individuals Embarking from Irish Ports and Arriving in America. Kansas City, MO: Irish Families : Irish Genealogical Foundation, 2000.

———. Names of Irish Passengers to America: With Dates, Ports & Ship Names : From the Archives of the Irish Genealogical Foundation. Kansas City, Mo.: Irish Genealogical Foundation, 2000.

Johnson, Eileen B. They Came Direct: Immigrant Boat Direct to the Port of Wide Bay. [Maryborough, Qld.]: [E.B. Johnson], 1994.

Mission, Walter C. Foreign Protestant Passenger Lists. [Lunenburg, N.S.]: [South Shore Genealogical Society], 1999.

Mitchell, Brian. Irish Passenger Lists, 1803-1806: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Ireland to America : Extracted from the Hardwicke Papers. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1995.

———. “Irish Passenger Lists, 1803-1806: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Ireland to America Extracted from the Hardwicke Papers.” Genealogical Pub. Co, 1995.

———. Irish Passenger Lists, 1803-1806: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Ireland to America : Extracted from the Hardwicke Papers. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1995.

———. Irish Passenger Lists, 1847-1871: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J. & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1988.

———. Irish Passenger Lists, 1847-1871: Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J. & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co, 1988.

Natal (South Africa). European Immigration Department. Immigrant Records, 1845-1911. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1978.

Natal (South Africa). Indian Immigration Department. Civil registration (immigrant passenger passes and passenger births - Indians), Natal, 1888-1941. Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1998.

New South Wales, Immigration Office, Archives Authority of New South Wales, and Archives Authority of New South Wales. Immigration Persons on Bounty Ships (agent’s Immigrant lists),1838-1851. Genealogical Society, 1985.

Queensland State Archives. Indexes, Immigration 1883-1912. Brisbane: Queensland State Archives, 2004. http://www.archives.qld.gov.au/research/index/imm1883_1912.asp.

Serene, Frank H. American Immigrant Genealogy: Ship Pasenger Lists. [Washington, D.C.]: National Archives and Records Service, 1985.

Sobotka, Margie, and Nebraska) Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society (Fremont. Czech Immigrant Passenger List (for Nebraska) 1879. Omaha, Nebraska? Eastern Nebraska Genealogical Society?], 1982.

Tepper, Michael. American Passenger Arrival Records: A Guide to the Records of Immigrants Arriving at American Ports by Sail and Steam. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1993.

The Palatine Immigrant. Columbus, Ohio.: Palatines to America.

United States, and National Archives and Records Service. Immigrant and Passenger Arrivals: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington, D.C.: National Archives Trust Fund Board, U.S. General Services Administration, 1983.

United States, National Archives and Records Service, United States, Bureau of Customs, United States, and National Archives and Records Service. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York. Washington, D.C.: National Archives of the United States, 1934.

Voultsos, Mary. Greek Immigrant Passengers, 1885-1910. Worcester, Mass. (754 Pleasant St., Worcester 01602): M. Voultsos, 1992.

Werner, Emmy E. Passages to America Oral Histories of Child Immigrants from Ellis Island and Angel Island. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, 2009. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=864565.

Wolfert, Marion. German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1868-1871, with Places of Origin. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1993.

Zimmerman, Gary J, and Marion Wolfert. German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1863-1867, with Places of Origin. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1988.



1 comment:

  1. "The most common ports of arrival were the following:"

    Don't forget Galveston!

    ReplyDelete