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Reference Reports

Immigration records document the arrival of aliens and return of U.S. citizens to the United States from foreign ports from 1820 to the early 1980s. Before then, individual ports compiled their own records, which are not available at the National Archives. The U.S. Customs Service maintained inbound passenger and crew lists from 1820 to 1890. In 1891, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) controlled entry into the United States. Starting in 1895, immigration officials tracked border crossings from Canada as well, and from Mexico around 1903. Immigration Reference Reports describe research strategies for some of the more frequent topics and records relating to immigration, including the arrival of specific ethnic groups such as the Irish and Chinese, New York passenger arrivals, and accessioned records for later 20th century immigration.

Click on the title to view a PDF version of the reference report.

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