Passport applications can be an excellent source of genealogical information, especially about foreign-born individuals. Foreign travel in the nineteenth century was much more frequent than one might expect. Overseas travelers included businessmen, the middle class, and naturalized U.S. citizens who returned to their homelands to visit relatives. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has passport applications from Oct. 1795-Mar. 1925. The U.S. Department of State has custody of passport applications from Apr. 1925 to the present.
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