Florida, Key West Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1945 .
This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Key West, Monroe County, Florida, United States
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Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Passenger Lists
Record Group RG 85: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service
Collection years 1898-1945
Microfilm Publication T940. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Key West Fl., 1898-1945.
Arrangement Arrival Date
National Archives Identifier 414 4345370
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in the Collection?

Passenger lists of vessels arriving at Key West, Florida. This collection corresponds in part to NARA Publication T940: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Key West, Florida, 1898-1945 and is part of Record Group 85 Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The records are arranged by the date of arrival.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1945.

Collection Content

Sample Images

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

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.

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

Passenger lists prior to 1906 generally include the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of arrival
  • Port of embarkation
  • Name of ship

Passenger lists after 1906 generally include the following information:

  • Name of ship
  • Port of departure and port of entry
  • Name and age of passenger
  • Birth place of passenger
  • Citizenship, gender, marital status and occupation of passenger
  • Height, hair color, and eye color of passenger
  • Nationality of passenger
  • Passenger's last place of residence
  • Name and address of relative living near former residence
  • Destination
  • Name and address of relative or friend in current country

How Do I Search the Collection?

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor
  • The approximate date of immigration

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

Search by Name by visiting the Collection Page:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about the individuals in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person. You may need to compare the information about more than one person to find your ancestor.

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the “Description" 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.

With either search 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.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Tips and Tricks.

What Do I Do Next?

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.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

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
  • 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.

I Can't Find Who I'm Looking for, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings of the name.
  • Look for an index. Records are often indexed by local historical and genealogical societies.
  • Search the indexes of other port cities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Citing 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:

"Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1945." Database with Images. FamilySearch. Website: accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication T940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

The citation for a record is available with each record in this collection, at the bottom of the record screen. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1945.

Image Citation:

The image citation is available by clicking on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Florida, Key West Passenger Lists, 1898-1945.

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