New York, Passenger Arrival Lists, Ellis Island (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.

Contents

Record Description

The Collection covers the years 1892 to 1924. They consist of passenger lists of 25 million people (not just immigrants) who arrived at Ellis Island, Port of New York, 1892-1924.

Record Content

The card index to passenger lists includes the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Accompanied by
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Port of entry
  • Name of vessel
  • Date of arrival

Passenger lists, particularly later lists, include the following information:

  • Names of immigrants and close relatives
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Birthplaces, former residences, and intended destinations
  • Marital status
  • Nationality and race
  • Occupations
  • Date of arrival
  • Port of departure

How to Use the Records

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the immigrant
  • Date of entry into the United States

If you do not know this information, check the federal census records after 1900.

Search the Collection

To search the collection fill in the requested information in the boxes on the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to look at the information on several individuals comparing the information about them to your ancestors 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. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example, you can use passenger lists to:

  • Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
  • Confirm their date of arrival
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship manifests

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct.
  • Continue to 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 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?

  • Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations.
  • Try a different index if there is one for the years needed. You may also need to search the passenger lists year by year.
  • Search the indexes of other port cities.

General Information About These Records

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.

The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. They are usually typewritten and occupy two pages.

Passenger arrival lists, known as customs manifests, date back to 1820. However, the first official emigration station for New York was Castle Garden, located at the tip of lower Manhattan. Congressional action in 1891 resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival. After January 1892, passengers arriving in New York debarked at Ellis Island, located east of Manhattan in the New York Harbor. From 1892 to 1924, almost all immigrants entered the United States through the port of New York.

The passenger arrival list was used by legal inspectors at Ellis Island to cross-examine 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. These indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

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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 (often called citing 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.

Collection citation:

"New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924." Index. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA publications T715 and part of M237. 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 New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 27 August 2014, at 19:24.
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