Finding Passenger Lists and Immigration Records 1820-1960s

Arrivals at U.S. ports from Europe

by Joe Beine

Introduction: This is a list of indexes of passenger lists (also called immigration records or ship manifests) for ships that sailed to the United States from 1820 to the 1940s (and now into the 1960s), including microfilm (most now digitized), books, and online indexes and databases. Some of the later years (1950s-1960s) may include airplane arrivals.

Some of the online indexes or databases listed below include digitized images of the passenger lists from the National Archives microfilm, which can be viewed online at Ancestry (fee-based) and FamilySearch (free with registration).

Indexes for Passenger Lists by Port and Time Frame

New York was the most commonly used port for immigrants in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The list below begins with New York, followed by Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Galveston, and smaller ports.

New York 1820-1962 (includes the Castle Garden, Barge Office, and Ellis Island years)

New York 1820-1897 - Additional Finding Aids

New York 1897-1957 - Additional Finding Aids

Baltimore 1820-1964 (with gaps)

Boston 1820-1963 (with gaps)

A separate webpage has been set up for the port of Boston. This webpage lists Boston passenger records and indexes from 1820-1963, online and off. Included is information about how to find the "missing" Boston passenger records from 1855-1856 and 1874-1882.

Galveston, Texas

A separate webpage has been set up for the port of Galveston...

New Orleans 1820-1963 (with gaps)

Philadelphia 1800-1962 (with gaps)

Other Ports

Don't Know Which Port?

If you don't know which port your ancestor arrived at try: Tips for Determining Your Ancestor's Port of Arrival in the US

Ancestry's Immigration Records Collection

  • Online Database: Ancestry's Immigration Records Collection (requires payment) Includes ship passenger indexes (many with online digitized images from the microfilm) for New York (1820-1957), Boston (1820-1943), Baltimore (1820-1948 and 1954-1957), Philadelphia (1800-1945), New Orleans (1820-1945), San Francisco (1893-1953), and many smaller ports, plus some Canadian passenger lists and border crossings, and some US naturalization records.

FamilySearch's Immigration and Naturalization Records Search

Supplementary Resource

  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (at Ancestry/requires payment) a Guide to Published Arrival Records of...Passengers Who Came to the United States and Canada in the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries; edited by P. William Filby; Published by Gale Research Co, Detroit, MI (1981-ongoing); Originally published as a book series in 3 volumes with annual supplements, this database indexes numerous sources of some passenger arrivals, naturalizations and other immigrant resources. You may be able to find the books at a library.
Basic Genealogy Research Tips and Using Census Records
  • If you don't know when or where your ancestor arrived you should first do some basic genealogy research. Use this website's Basic Research Outline. Talk to your relatives. Compile as much information as you can. Then research church, census and vital records. These kinds of records can give you clues as to when your immigrant ancestor arrived and sometimes where he or she came from. Post-1906 Naturalization Records almost always give arrival details for the person. You can usually find the year of immigration for someone in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 US Federal Census Records. Be aware that sometimes census records contain errors.
For microfilm information see: Microfilm Roll Numbers for USA Passenger Arrival Records

Finding Passenger Lists Before 1820

Ship Passenger Lists and Records Online

German Roots Main Page . . . Online Genealogy Records . . . German Resources & Records

Emigration & Immigration Records . . . Census Records . . . People & Places . . . Military Records

German Research Guide . . . Genealogy Resources . . . Privacy & Disclaimers

© 1998-2024 Joe Beine


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Finding Passenger Lists 1820-1960s