Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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United States Gotoarrow.png Pennsylvania Gotoarrow.png Philadelphia County

FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882  and Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945.
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What is in the Collection?

These collections include the following:

  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882 (NARA M425)
  • Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945 (NARA T840)

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. Passenger arrivals records do not exist from July 1, 1948 to November 30, 1954.

A Soundex Index is available for the years 1883 to 1945.

The soundex index is a phonetic index that groups together names that sound alike but are spelled differently, for example, Stewart and Stuart. The index cards are filed according to the soundex number associated with each family name and then by given names. For more information on soundex indexes and help with coding names and using the index, see the wiki article: Soundex

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882.
You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945.

Collection Content

Lists for the years 1798 to 1882 generally include the following information:

  • Name of immigrant/passenger
  • Place of birth
  • Age and gender
  • Occupation
  • Name of country to which passenger belongs
  • Port of departure
  • Date of arrival
  • Name of ship

Lists and soundex index cards for the years 1882 to 1948 generally include the following information:

  • Name
  • Birth place
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Name and address of relative or friend
  • Port and date of entry
  • Name of ship

The index cards also list the volume, page, and line number in the passenger lists.

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 the Collection

To search the collection by name:
Fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

To browse by image:
To search the collection you will need to follow this series of links:
⇒Select the "Browse" link in the initial search page
⇒Select the "NARA Roll Number and 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 Search 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. For example:

Use passenger lists to learn an immigrant’s place of origin; confirm their date of arrival; determine their foreign and “Americanized” names; and 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What if I Can't Find Who I'm Looking For?

  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

Known Issues with This Collection

Important.png Problems with this collection?
See a list of known issues, workarounds, tips, restrictions, future fixes, news and other helpful information.

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 support@familysearch.org. 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.

Related Websites

Related Wiki Articles

How You Can Contribute

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.


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 for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882:

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882." Database with Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication M425. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.


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 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882.
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 Passenger Lists, 1800-1882.

Collection citation for Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945:

"Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication T840. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.


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 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945.
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 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945.