US Immigration Passenger Arrival Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png Emigration and Immigration Gotoarrow.png Passenger Arrival Records

Passenger arrival records can help you determine when an ancestor arrived and the ports of departure and arrival. They can also be used to identify family and community members who arrived together as well as the country they came from.

See also Ancestors Season 2: Immigration Records at the FamilySearch Learning Center.

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Pre-1820 Passenger Arrival Records

Over 7100 families and 290 ships, by Anne Stevens, gives the name of the ship and the master, the departure date, departure point, arrival date, and arrival point. You can view the data by date, by name of the ship, or by passengers in alphabetical order.
  • Often to find passenger arrival records for immigrants arriving before 1820, you must rely on printed sources. These include published lists of immigrants' names taken from newspapers, naturalization oaths, indenture lists, headright grants, and other records. These types of records are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under one of the following:
  • An excellent index of over 4,588,000 names found in more than 2,500 published sources is: Filby, P. William, and Mary Keysor Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 15 vols. Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1981-. (Family History Library book 973 W32p.) This is an index of published passenger lists. The first three volumes are a combined alphabetical index printed in 1981. Supplemental volumes have been issued annually.
  • To search the Internet version of the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index for free at the Family History Library click here, enter the name of the immigrant, search, and click "View Record" to see the source information. Note the collection at is called U.S. and Canada Passenger and Immigration List Index, 1500s-1900s.
  • You can also search the same index at home if you click here,($) but you will be asked to subscribe to see the results list details.
  • You can also go to a family history center near you to access the institution version of Many public libraries have the full version.
  • Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index can also be found at World Vital Records. This a subscription site but it can be accessed without cost at FamilySearch Centers.
  • Filby does not index official U.S. arrival lists (see below) or manuscript sources, but it does index the names of many people who immigrated between 1538 and the 1900s and who are listed in post-1820 published sources.

Passenger Arrival Records Starting in 1820

If your ancestor arrived after 1819, he may be listed in one or more of the following. These lists are in chronological order by the date of arrival, and the lists for one year may be on as many as twenty microfilms.

  • Online Indexes and Lists. Most passenger lists are also indexed and available on the Internet.
  • Customs Passenger Lists, 1820 to 1902. These are lists that were submitted by the masters of ships to U.S. customs officials upon arrival in the United States. Customs passenger lists include each immigrant's name, age, gender, occupation, country of origin, and country or place of intended destination.
  • Immigration Passenger Lists, since 1883. These lists, also known as “ship manifests,” were submitted by the masters of ships to the Immigration and Naturalization Service and its predecessors. In addition to the same information found in the customs passenger lists, you may find the exact birthplace or last residence, marital status, previous U.S. residence, place of destination, and the names of relatives in the “old country” and in the United States.
  • The Family History Library has copies of over 12,000 microfilms of passenger arrival records and indexes from the National Archives. The film numbers of these records are most easily found in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under
  • The following is a list of the major ports and years for which National Archive microfilm records are available. The approximate number of immigrants admitted from 1820 to 1920 is in parentheses after the name of the city. Following is a guide to the most significant collections at the Family History Library. Use the National Archives number when working at National Archives branches.

New York City (23,960,000)

1820-1846 (785 films) Passenger lists ...New York, 1820-1897; Index to passenger lists...1820-1846
1897-1902 (3898 films) Passenger and crew lists...New York, 1897-1942; index...1897-1902; index..1902-1948
1902-1943 (3898 films) Passenger and crew lists...New York, 1897-1942; index...1897-1902; index..1902-1948
1820-1897 (785 films) Passenger lists ...New York, 1820-1897; Index to passenger lists...1820-18
1897-1942 (3898 films) Passenger and crew lists...New York, 1897-1942; index...1897-1902; index..1902-1948

Boston (2,050,000)

1848-1891 (397 films) Passenger lists of vessels arriving at Boston, 1820-1891 ; with index, 1848-1891
1899-1940 (597 films) Passenger lists...Boston,1891-1943; Book indexes, 1899-1940; Index 1902- 1920
1820-1891 (397 films) Passenger lists of vessels arriving at Boston, 1820-1891 ; with index, 1848-1891
1874–1883  Passenger lists are not at the Family History Library.  They are at the Massachusetts State Archives. 
1891-1943  (597 films) Passenger lists...Boston,1891-1943; Book indexes, 1899-1940; Index 1902- 1920

Baltimore (1,460,000)


Philadelphia (1,240,000)

Indexes [1]

New Orleans (710,000)


Other Ports(4,000,000)

  • Lists and indexes for these other ports are also at the Family History Library and the National Archives:
    • Charleston
    • Galveston
    • Key West
    • New Bedford
    • Passamaquoddy
    • Portland (Maine)
    • Providence
    • San Francisco
    • Seattle,
    • and others.
  • A collection of the lists of over 60 smaller ports is found in:
  • United States. Bureau of Customs. Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. . . . Washington, D.C. National Archives, 1964. (FHL films 830231-46.) These lists range from 1820 to 1874, but most years are missing.
  • An index to the above lists is: United States. Bureau of Customs. Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ports . . . .Washington, D.C.: National Archives Record Services, 1960. (FHL films 418161-348.) This also indexes lists for Baltimore (1820-1869), Boston (1820-1874), New Orleans (1820-1850), and Philadelphia (1820-1874).

Indentured Servants Database

More than 75 percent of the colonists who settled south of New England financed their voyages to the New World as indentured servants, convict servants, and redemptioners. The Indentured Servants Database project aims to identify all immigrants described by these terms in American and European sources from 1607 through 1820. To date, there are approximately 16638 immigrant servants listed in the database.That number continues to grow as this is an on-going project.

Ulster Ireland Presbyterian Immigrants

An account of the (mainly) Ulster Presbyterians who immigrated to America in the 18th century and includes genealogical information. It also provides detail on the social and political conditions that the immigrants faced during that period. An extensive index is

A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Also see the U.S. Bureau of Customs Supplemental Index . . . described later in this section.