Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proof of Citizenship (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page

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



Record Description

This collection will include records from 1791-1861. Proofs of Citizenship used to apply for seamen's certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1861. These records correspond to NARA publication M1880.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861.

Record Content

The records usually contain

  • Name of sailor
  • Age
  • Physical description
  • Home residence
  • Signature
  • Date of certificate
  • Name of official

How to Use the Record

To begin your search it is helpful to know

  • Name of the sailor
  • Identifying information such as age or residence

Search the Collection

To search the collection
⇒ Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒ Select the "Year Range" category which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images 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.

Using the Information

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Save a copy of the image or transcribe the information. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. You should also look for leads to other records about your ancestors. For example:

  • Use the age to calculate an approximate birth date.
  • Use the age and residence to search for birth, census and church records.

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.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?

  • Check for variant spellings of the names. You should also look to abbreviated names and nicknames.
  • Look for an index. Local genealogical and historical societies often have indexes to local records.

Related Websites


Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citations for This Collection

Citing your sources makes it easy for others to find and evaluate the records you used. When you copy information from a record, list where you found that information. Here you can find citations already created for the entire collection and for each individual record or image.  

Collection Citation:

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861.” Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2015. Citing NARA M1880. National Archives and Record Administration, Washington, D.C.

Image citation:

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 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861.


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  • This page was last modified on 11 August 2015, at 14:23.
  • This page has been accessed 1,185 times.