Passenger Arrival Lists
- General Information
- Our Records
- Microfilm Research
- Visiting Our Facility
- Obtaining Copies
- Online Databases
- Access to Archival Databases (AAD)
- Castle Garden
- Ellis Island
- Other Resources
- Family History Centers
Immigration records, also known as "passenger arrival records," can provide genealogical information including:
- a person's nationality, place of birth
- ship name and date of entry to the United States
- age, height, eye and hair color
- place of last residence
- name and address of relatives they are joining in the U.S.
- amount of money they are carrying, etc.
It can be useful to research other genealogy sources to aid your search for passenger arrival records. Naturalization records, for example, particularly after 1906, can contain specific details of a person's legal entry into the U.S. -- the exact date and means (ship name, for example) of arrival. Census records often show year of immigration.
Our office has microfilm of indexes to passenger lists of vessels arriving at the Port of New York for the years 1820-1846 and 1897-1943. The passenger list records were created by the U.S. Customs Service (Record Group 36), and the Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] (Record Group 85). The passenger lists themselves are available at our office via the online databases listed below.
You can read more about these microfilm publications, and the locations where you can view them, in the National Archives online Microfilm Catalog. Search for the exact publication number ("T715", for example) as the keyword.
Visiting Our Facility
For information on visiting our facility, please call us at 212.401.1620 or 866.840.1752 (toll-free) or view details online.
Researchers coming to the Regional Archives should review the researcher guidelines and facility information. Researchers may be required to present photo identification to obtain a NARA researcher identification card.
Original Record Note:
Due to the fragile nature of the original records, researchers will only have access to the microfilm and digital copies.
Self-service microfilm copies at our facility are $.40 per page. Certified copies are an additional $15 per record. Staff are available to help with research and copies. If you require a certified copy from microfilm, you must ask for staff assistance.
We are unable to search our microfilm for specific entries or provide reproductions in response to letters or telephone calls. The microfilm is available for free public use at our facility.
If you are not planning to visit our facility and conduct your research, you can submit an online request for copies of ship passenger arrival records. If you can provide sufficient information, they will conduct a search of the indexes and provide you with pertinent copies of ship manifest pages.
The following databases were created using National Archives passenger arrival records and indexes. While they cover essentially the same records, the indexing might have been done differently. If you can't find someone in one database, try the others that cover your time period.
- Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Russians to the United States, documenting the period 1834 - 1897
- Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, documenting the period 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851
- Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Germans to the United States, documenting the period 1850 - 1897
- Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Italians to the United States, documenting the period 1855 - 1900
Created by the Center for Immigration Research at the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, these listings of primarily Russian, Irish, German, and Italian immigrants who came to New York during certain periods in the mid to late 1800s are searchable through NARA's online catalog Access to Archival Databases (AAD).
In the AAD main page, under Browse by Category, under Genealogy/Personal History, select Passenger Lists.
The National Archives offers AAD as a free public resource and it can be accessed from anywhere. A project of the Electronic and Special Media Records Services Division of NARA's Modern Records Program, AAD provides access to over 85 million historic electronic records created by more than 30 agencies of the U.S. Federal Government and from collections of donated historical materials.
Created by the Battery Conservancy, this free online searchable database contains entries for 10 million immigrants from 1830 through 1892, the year Ellis Island opened. Searchable by passenger name, the database provides information including age, sex, literacy, occupation, country of origin, port of embarkation, date of arrival into New York, and ship name.
From 1855 - 1890, Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center.
Ellis Island has an online searchable database, created by the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation, of 22.5 million arrivals to New York between 1892 - 1924. Registration is required but free, and you can view scanned images of actual passenger manifests. You can also purchase copies through the site.
Over 20 million immigrants passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island from 1892 - 1924.
New York arrivals
Ancestry.com has indexed the New York Passenger Lists by ships arriving to New York from foreign ports from 1820 - 1957. You can search by passenger name and view scanned images of the passenger lists. Ancestry is a subscription database. It is available for free public use at all National Archives research facilities and many public libraries.
Ancestry used the following National Archives microfilm series to create this database:
- Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls); Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
- Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1897-1957; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T715, 8892 rolls); Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Through Ancestry's Immigration Collection, select the database New York Passenger Lists.
Other ports/arrival records
Ancestry has created similar databases for many other ports besides New York, including Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore to name just a few. They also have lists of ships and ship images. You can access them all through their Immigration Collection.
Family History Centers
Another option is to contact a Family History Center nearest your location. Family History Centers are operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). They have purchased copies of National Archives passenger arrival records for various ports in the U.S. including the Port of New York. Please consult your local telephone directory for the nearest Family History Center or see their web site: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHC/frameset_fhc.asp.
- The web pages by Stephen P. Morse
- Cyndi's List of Genealogical Sites on the Internet
- A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations