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

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Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861 .
This article describes a collection of records at
Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
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Record Description
Record Type Seamen's Proof of Citzenship
Record Group RG 36: Records of the U.S. Customs Service
Collection years 1791-1861
Microfilm Publication M1880. Proofs of Citizenship Used to Apply for Seamen's Protection Certificates for the Ports of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,1792-1861. 61 rolls.
Arrangement By date then by name
National Archives Identifier 563421 365
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
National Archives and Records Administration

What is in the Collection?

Images of Proofs of Citizenship used to apply for seamen's certificates for the Port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1792-1861. The records correspond to NARA publication M1880 part of Record Group 36 Records of the U.S. Customs Service. The collector of customs issued Seamen's Protection Certificates for sailors on vessels involved in foreign trade. The collection is organized by year then by the name of the seamen.

To Browse this Collection

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

What Can these Records Tell Me?

The records usually contain:

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

Collection Content

Sample Images

How Do I Search the Collection?

. To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor
  • At least one other piece of information

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page.

  1. Select Year Range

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images.

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

What Do I Do Next?

Whenever possible, view the original records to verify the information and to find additional information that might not be reported. These pieces of information can lead you to additional records and family members.

I Found Who I was Looking for, What Now?

  • Use the information to find other records such as emigrations, port records, ship’s manifests, birth, christening, census, and land records.
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Use the information to find additional family members.
  • Repeat this process with additional family members found, to find more generations of the family.
  • Church Records often were kept years before government records were required and are a good source for finding ancestors before 1900.

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

  • Try viewing the original record to see if there were errors in the transcription of the name, age, residence, etc. Remember that there may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • Collect entries for every person who has the same surname. This list can help you identify possible relations that can be verified by records.
  • If you cannot locate your ancestor in the locality in which you believe they lived, then try searching records of a nearby locality in an area search.
  • Standard spelling of names typically did not exist during the periods our ancestors lived in. Try variations of your ancestor’s name while searching the index or browsing through images.
  • Remember that sometimes individuals went by nicknames or alternated between using first and middle names. Try searching for these names as well.
  • Search the indexes and records of Pennsylvania, United States Genealogy.
  • Search in the Pennsylvania Archives and Libraries.
  • Search in the FamilySearch Library Catalog

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:

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861.” Images. FamilySearch. : accessed 2017. Citing NARA M1880. National Archives and Record Administration, Washington, D.C.

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

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