New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists (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 images of passenger arrivals in New York Harbor.

The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. The ists usually 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. 

For a list of records by localities and dates currently published in this collection, select the Browse.

The information in these collections pertains to ship passenger lists from 1825 to 1942. 

The passenger arrival list was used by legal inspectors 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.

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.

United States Immigration and Naturalization Service. New York, passenger lists. National Archives, Washington D.C.

Digital images of originals housed at various municipal archives throughout New York.

Record Content

Ellis Island Passenger List.jpg

Passenger lists, particularly later lists, include the following genealogical 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 search the collection, select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page ⇒ Select the “NARA Roll Description” that takes you to the images.

Look at the images one by one comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine which one is your ancestor. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination.

Begin your search by finding your ancestors in the index. Name indexes make it possible to access a specific record quickly. Check the index for the surname and then the given name. You may need to look at many entries to find the one you are seeking. Remember that these indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

When searching the index 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.

Use the locator information found in the index (such as name of the ship, page, or entry number) to locate your ancestors in the records. 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 and 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.

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. 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.

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.

Related Web Sites

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.

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.

Citation Example for a Record Found in This Collection

"New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1891"  digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 29 April 2011). Joseph Bavier, age 19; citing Passenger Lists, 039-1 Jul 1839-5 Sep 1939. Image 9; United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, Washington, D.C.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: Help:How to Create Source Citations For FamilySearch Historical Records Collections.


 

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