California, San Francisco Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)Edit This Page
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|This article describes a collection of historical records scheduled to become available at FamilySearch.org.|
Collection Time Period
This collection includes the years 1893 to 1953.
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.
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, 1893-1953.
Passenger lists prior to 1906 generally includes the following information:
- Date of arrival
- Port of embarkation
- Name of ship
Passenger lists after 1906 generally includes the following information:
- Birth place
- Last permanent residence
- Name and address of relative or friend
- Port and date of entry
- Name of ship
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.
Compare the information in the record to what you already know about your ancestors to determine if this is the correct person. You may need to compare the information of more than one person to make this determination.
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:
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.
You may also find these tips helpful:
- 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.
If you do not find the name you are looking for, try the following:
- 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.
Passenger arrival lists known as customs manifests date back to 1820. Congressional action in 1891 resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival.
Why this Record Was Created
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.
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Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections
When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. 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.
A suggested format for citing FamilySearch Historical Collections, including how to cite individual archives is found in the following link: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections
Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection
- United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71
- Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023
Sources of Information for This Collection
California. San Francisco Passenger Lists, 1893-1953 (NARA M1410). National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C.
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