Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index Cards (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 consists of a name index and images from a Soundex card index to Philadelphia passenger lists from 1 Jan 1883 through 28 Jun 1948. Each card contains the given name, family name, place of birth, age, gender, occupation, nationality, last permanent residence, destination, name & address of relative or friend, port & date of entry, name of ship, and the volume, page, and line number in the passenger lists. The cards are field according to the Soundex number associated with each family name and then by given names. This collection corresponds to NARA publication T526: Index (Soundex) Cards, Ship Arrivals at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1883-1948.

The soundex index is a phonetic index that groups together names that sound alike but are spelled differently, for example, Stewart and Stuart. The index cards are filed according to the soundex number associated with each family name and then by given names. For more information on soundex indexes and help with coding names and using the index, see the wiki article: Soundex

For an alphabetical index currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.

Record Content

The soundex index cards generally include the following information:

  • Full name of passenger
  • Number of persons accompanying passenger
  • Birth place
  • Age, gender, marital status and occupation
  • Place of nativity
  • Whether passenger is able to read and write
  • Last permanent residence
  • Name and address of relative or friend in former country
  • What is final destination
  • Physical description
  • Arrival date and port of entry
  • Name of ship
  • Volume and page number

How to Use the Record

When searching the index it is helpful to know

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • Other identifying information such as the approximate date of immigration.

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

Search the Collection

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own 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  "Description" which takes you to the images

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor.

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. 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’s 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.
  • 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.

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

Passenger arrival lists known as customs manifests date back to 1820. Congressional action in 1891 resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival.

Arrival lists were used by legal authorities to gather personal information about immigrants prior to the person being allowed to live in the United States. 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.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Websites

Passenger Ship Records of Pennsylvania

Related Wiki Articles

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.

Citation for This Collection

The following citation refers to the original source of the data and images published on FamilySearch.org Historical Records. It may include the author, custodian, publisher, and archive for the original records. 

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2013. Citing NARA microfilm publication T526. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

 

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  • This page was last modified on 26 August 2014, at 19:12.
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