California, San Francisco Passenger Lists (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: California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953 .
This collection consists of lists of those arriving in San Francisco, California. It corresponds to NARA Publication M1410: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at San Francisco, CA, for the years 1893 to 1953.
For a list of records by date or locality currently published in this collection, select the Browse link from the collection landing page.
Passenger lists generally included the following information:
- Name of ship
- Port of embarkation
- Date and seaport of entry
- Final destination
- Whether or not ticket to final destination
- Name of passenger
- Birth place
- Age in years and months
- Civil status
- Whether or not can read and write
- Last permanent residence
- Who paid for passage
- Declaration of money in possession
- Whether or not has been in U. S. before
- Whether or not passenger has been in prison
- Whether or not passenger is a polygamist
- Name and address of relative or friend passenger plans to join
- Whether or not under contract to labor
- General condition and statement of health
- Description of passenger
How to Use the Record
To begin your search it is helpful to know the full name of your ancestor and the approximate date of immigration. 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 image by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "NARA Roll Number - Contents" which takes you to the images.
Look at the images one by one. Again you will need to compare 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.
Unable to Find Your Ancestor?
- Check for variant spellings of the name.
- Look for an index. Records are often indexed by local historical and genealogical societies.
- 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 was 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.
The passenger lists are digital copies of the original records. The earliest records are handwritten pages. Later records are usually handwritten on pre-printed pages. The records are arranged by the date of entry into port.
Known Issues with This Collection
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 email@example.com. 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.
- San Francisco Genealogy
- Find Your Ancestors in One Step $
- US Ports of Arrival and their Available Passenger Lists 1820-1957
Related Wiki Articles
Contributions to This Article
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
Citations for individual image records are available for this collection. Browse through images in this collection and click on the "Show Citation" box: California, San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953
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Keep track of records where you did not find information about your ancestor so you and others won’t waste time looking through these records in the future.
A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the wiki article Help:How to Cite FamilySearch Collections.
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