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Finding Passenger Records in the Family History Library Catalog

a guide to finding passenger lists and their indexes on microfilm

by Joe Beine, German Roots Webmaster


Where to Find LDS Family History Library Microfilm Roll Numbers for Passenger Records

First you might try this webpage for a list of links to the microfilm roll numbers arranged by port of arrival...
Microfilm Roll Numbers for USA Passenger Records (arrivals at US ports from Europe)

You might try using the listings at the above link first. Or if you want to look up the microfilm roll numbers in the FHL catalog yourself then try the instructions on this page.

These are basic instructions for how to find passenger lists and their indexes on microfilm in the Family History Library Catalog. You can then order the rolls you find from many Family History Centers.

basic steps...
Go to the Family History Library Catalog

Do a place search for the port where your ancestor landed, such as New York, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, etc.

Select the "Emigration and Immigration" topic

Look through this topic for the passenger lists in the time frame you are searching

Find the specific roll of microfilm for the date you are searching

Write down the title and roll number of the microfilm to be ordered from many Family History Centers


detailed steps...
I'm going to use passenger arrival records (and indexes) at the port of Baltimore as an example...

Go to the Family History Library Catalog. This link will open in a new window so you can return to this window to continue with these instructions. You can toggle back and forth between the two windows or you can print these instructions out.

Type "Baltimore" (without the quotation marks) into the box. Select "Maryland, Baltimore (Independent City)" from the suggestions list. Then click the "search" button.

The next screen will show a list of topics for Baltimore. You want the topic labeled "Emigration and Immigration." Click on "Emigration and Immigration." (See the note for the separate topic, "Emigration and Immigration - Indexes" below.) You will then see a list of subtopics. For Baltimore passenger lists you would click on...
"Passenger lists of vessels arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1948 ; Quarterly abstracts of passenger lists of vessels arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1869 : NARA M255"

For the Baltimore indexes 1897-1952, you click on...
"Index (Soundex) to passenger lists of vessels arriving at Baltimore, 1897-1952"


Note: if you choose the "Emigration and Immigration - Indexes" topic, you will see...

"Index to passenger lists of vessels arriving at Baltimore, 1833-1866 (city passenger lists)
"Index to passenger lists of vessels arriving at Baltimore, 1820-1897 (Federal passengers lists)"

These are passenger list indexes for Baltimore. You should search the Federal index first, and then if nothing is found, try the City index. The city of Baltimore kept separate "city lists" for 1833-1866. The index for these lists is separate from the Federal index, but the passenger lists themselves are included with the other Baltimore passenger lists. As we've already seen, the Baltimore indexes for 1897-1952 are included in the "Emigration and Immigration" topic covered above. This is a discrepancy that comes up sometimes in the library catalog.

Sometimes the indexes will also be listed under the "Emigration and Immigration" topic, and sometimes they will be under "Emigration and Immigration - Indexes." If you are looking for passenger list indexes try both topics. The passenger lists themselves should always be listed under "Emigration and Immigration."


A Note on the New York Microfilm

1897-1943

After doing a place search for New York, New York and clicking on the "Emigration & Immigration" link, this is the title of the record you click on next for NY arrivals 1897 to 1943...

"Index to passenger lists of vessels arriving at New York, June 16, 1897 - June 30, 1902; Index (soundex) to passenger lists of vessels arriving at New York, July 1, 1902-December 31, 1943; Passenger and crew lists of vessels arriving at Ne (note the way the title is cut off here) United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service"

This listing contains over 7000 microfilm rolls. It can be difficult to locate individual rolls in the online version of the catalog. You may want to try using the Jewishgen.org website.

1820-1897

For 1820-1897 you click on this title...

"Passenger lists of vessels arriving at New York, 1820-1897; index to passenger lists of vessels arriving in New York, 1820-1846 United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service"

For help with New York passenger lists and a listing of online indexes see... New York Passenger Lists Quick Guide


A Note on National Archives Microfilm

The US National Archives (NARA) uses their own numbering system for each microfilm roll. These numbers are different than the system used by the Family History Library Catalog. However, the microfilm rolls themselves are generally the same. If you would like to obtain microfilm numbers for passenger lists and indexes from NARA then see Microfilm Roll Numbers for Passenger Lists

The National Archives rolls are available from some of NARA's branches. They can also be found at some large libraries.



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