Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.|
Access the records: Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891 .
These collections consist of images of Boston Passenger Lists for 1820 through 1891. There is a two-year gap from 1855-1856 and a nine-year gap between March 31, 1874 and April, 1883.
Collection "Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891" corresponds to NARA publications M277: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820-1891.
|You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891.|
Collection "Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1848-1891" corresponds to NARA publication M265: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1820-1891.
|You will be able to browse through images in this collection when it is published.|
The content of the records varies by time period. You may find any of the following information:
- Name of immigrant
- Birthplace or last residence
- Intended final destination
- Date of arrival
- Port of departure
- Port of entry
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know:
- The full name of your ancestor
- Some other identifying information such as the birth place or birth date
If you do not know this information, check the census records after 1900.
Search the Collection
Fill in the requested information in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the ancestors in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.
If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "Roll No. - Description" which takes you to the images.
Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. Keep in mind:
- There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
- You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
- Your ancestor may have used different names or variations of their name throughout their life.
- If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
- Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.
For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line video at FamilySearch Search Tips.
Using the Information
When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.
The following examples show ways you can use the information:
- Use the age listed to calculate a birthdate.
- Use the names and relationships as a basis for compiling family groups.
- Use the last residence or port of departure to find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests.
- Use the occupation to search for employment and guild records.
- Use the intended destination to search for church, census, and land records.
Tips to Keep in Mind
- Search the passenger lists to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have immigrated at the same time.
- If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for that date before you decide which is correct.
- If your ancestor has an uncommon surname, you may want to obtain the passenger list of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
- Look for an index. Records are often indexed by local historical and genealogical societies. There may also be another collection which is an index to the records.
- Search the indexes of other port cities.
- Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.
Please note that when you select an image to view, sometimes the manifest includes more than one page, and when you use the "click to enlarge manifest" link, the image that appears is not always the first page of the record. You may need to click on the "previous" or "next" links to view the remaining pages of the full manifest.
|Don't overlook FHL Keyword Massachusetts, Suffolk items in the FamilySearch Library Catalog. For other libraries (local and national) or to gain access to items of interest, see the wiki article Massachusetts Archives and Libraries. For additional information about this county see the wiki article Suffolk County, Massachusetts.|
Additional Information About These Records
The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. Earlier lists are handwritten, while most after 1917 are typewritten. Lists after 1906 usually occupy two pages.
Passenger arrival lists known as customs manifests date back to 1820. In 1883, the federal government mandated the creation of ship manifests and in 1891, Congressional action resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival.
The passenger arrival list was used by legal inspectors to question each immigrant during a legal inspection prior to the person being allowed to live in America. Only two percent of the prospective immigrants were denied entry.
The information was supplied by the immigrant or a traveling companion (usually a family member). Incorrect information was occasionally given, or mistakes may have been made when the clerk guessed at the spelling of foreign names.
- National Archives Catalog Description
- Boston Passenger Lists 1820-1891
- Boston Research Notes
- Immigration and Naturalization Records
Related Wiki Articles
- Boston, Masssachusetts
- Massachusetts Emigration and Immigration
- United States Emigration and Immigration
Contributions to This Article
|We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. Guidelines are available to help you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide. If you would like to get more involved join the WikiProject FamilySearch Records.|
Citations for This Collection
When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.
- "Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M277. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
|The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891.|
|The citation for an image is available on each image in this collection by clicking Show Citation at the bottom left of the image screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1891.|
- "Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1848-1891." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication M265. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.
Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):
|The citation for a record will be available with each record once the collection is published.|
|The citation for an image will be available on each image once the collection is published.|
- This page was last modified on 14 January 2015, at 20:02.
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