Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943 (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
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Flag of the United States of America
NARA seal300.jpg
Seal of the National Archives
Record Description
Record Type Emigration and Immigration
Collection years 1891-1943
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites
Archive
National Archives and Records Administration


What is in This Collection?

The collection consists of Boston Passenger Lists for 1891 through 1943. Corresponds to NARA publication T843: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts.

To Browse This Collection

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943.

Collection Content

Sample Image

The content of the records varies by time period. You may find any of the following information:

  • Port of departure and sailing date
  • Port of entry and arrival date
  • Name and age of immigrant
  • Gender, marital status and occupation
  • Country of citizenship or last country of residence
  • Name and address of relative in former country
  • Birthplace
  • Intended final destination
  • Name and address of friend or relative where going
  • Physical description

How Do I Search This Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The full name of your ancestor.
  • The date of immigration.

If you do not know this information, check the census records after 1900.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select NARA Roll No. - Description which takes you to the images.

Be aware that with either search you may need to compare the information about more than one person to make this determination. 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.
  • 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.


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. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. Make a photocopy of the record, or extract the genealogical information needed. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details. Add this new information to your records of each family. The information may also lead you to other records about your ancestors.

The following examples show ways you can use the information:

  • Use the age listed to calculate a birthdate.
  • Use the names and relationships as a basis for compiling family groups.
  • Use the last residence or port of departure to find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship’s manifests.
  • Use the occupation to search for employment and guild records.
  • Use the intended destination to search for church, census, and land records.

Tips to Keep in Mind

  • 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 had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for that date before you decide which is correct.
  • 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.
  • Please note that 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.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Check for variant spellings.
  • Look for an index. Records are often indexed by local historical and genealogical societies. There may also be another collection which is an index to the records.
  • Search the indexes of other port cities.

General Information About These Records

The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. Earlier lists are handwritten, while most after 1917 are typewritten. Lists after 1906 usually occupy two pages.

Passenger arrival lists known as customs manifests date back to 1820. In 1883, the federal government mandated the creation of ship manifests and in 1891, Congressional action resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival.

The passenger arrival list was used by legal inspectors to question each immigrant during a legal inspection prior to the person being allowed to live in America. Only two percent of the prospective immigrants were denied entry.

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.


Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation

"Massachusetts, Boston Passenger Lists, 1891-1943." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Citing NARA microfilm publication T843. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.

Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.
Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

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