United States, Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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FamilySearch Record Search This article describes a collection of historical records available at FamilySearch.org.
Access the records: United States, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ports, 1820-1874 .

== Collection Time Period  ==

This index covers the years 1820 to 1874.

Record Description

This is a card index to passengers arriving at 70 ports along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. New York City is excluded from this index.

States covered by this collection include:

  • Alabama
  • Conneticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Maryland
  • North Carolina
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Virginia

Record Content

Key genealogical facts found in most immigration passenger lists include:

  • Passenger name and surname
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Country of origin
  • Children names, if a family traveled together
  • Name of ship
  • Port of embarkation
  • Port of destination
  • Date of departure
  • Date of arrival

How to Use the Record

If unable to find your immigrant ancestors in the vital records of the state, you may find them in the passenger lists. In order to find ancestors in the passenger lists, you need to know an approximate date and port of arrival. You can narrow the date down with a birth and death date. With these pieces of information, you can search indexes created for the lists that are grouped by nationality or port of arrival.

Record History

Ship captains kept lists of passengers to manage their finances and prevent stowaways. Later, immigration laws increased the need for passenger lists, which grew in detail. Eventually, the Federal Government began to store immigrant documentation.

Why This Record Was Created

Passenger lists were first created to keep track of a captain's shipment and paying passengers. Later, they became a means to document immigration to the United States.

Record Reliability

Although generally reliable, passenger lists were handwritten, causing possible spelling errors.

Related Websites

Passenger lists

Ship Records and Passenger Lists

Related Wiki Articles

US Immigration Passenger Arrival Records

Contributions to This Article

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.

Citing FamilySearch Historical Collections

When you copy information from a record, you should also list where you found the information. This will help you or others to find the record again. It is also good to keep track of records where you did not find information, including the names of the people you looked for in the records.

A suggested format for keeping track of records that you have searched is found in the Wiki Article: How to Cite FamilySearch Collections

Examples of Source Citations for a Record in This Collection

  • United States. Bureau of the Census. 12th census, 1900, digital images, From FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: September 29, 2006), Arizona Territory, Maricopa, Township 1, East Gila, Salt River Base and Meridian; sheet 9B, line 71.
  • Mexico, Distrito Federal, Catholic Church Records, 1886-1933, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet (www.familysearch.org: April 22, 2010), Baptism of Adolfo Fernandez Jimenez, 1 Feb. 1910, San Pedro Apóstol, Cuahimalpa, Distrito Federal, Mexico, film number 0227023.

Sources of information for This Collection

United States. Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ports, 1820-1874. Federal Archives and Records Center, Washington, D.C.