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Genealogical Research II

Originally posted in GERMAN-AMERICAN-L by Nancy Ring-Kendrick on Tue, 05 Jan 1999 .


"The National Archives has microfilmed all of the available census schedules and the Soundex indexes to them, and positive microfilm copies are available at a moderate cost per roll. These microfilm rolls are arranged alphabetically by state and thereunder alphabetically by county. Usually all of the schedules for one county are on the same roll, some rolls contain records for several counties. The National Archives publications Federal Population Censuses, 1790-1890, 1900 Federal Population Census, and 1910 Federal Population Census contain roll listings. These publications may be purchased for $2 each at the National Archives or may be ordered by sending a check of money order, payable to the National Archives Trust Fund (NEPS), P.O. Box 100793, Atlanta, GA 30384. Please specify exact title(s) being ordered and add $3.00 for postage and handling per order.

Microfilm copies of the censuses, 1790-1910, and the Soundex indexes may be examined in the National Archives Building and in all of the regional archives."


"The National Archives can provide copies of specifically identified pages of federal population schedules, ordered by mail. To receive this photocopying service you must provide (on NATF From 82, Order for Copies of Census Records) the name of the individual listed, page number, census year, state, and county; and for the 1880 through 1910 censuses, the enumeration district. Frequently it is possible to use a census index to locate this information. In recent years, many private firms have produced statewide indexes to census records for specific years. These are available through out the country in libraries that have genealogical collections. In addition to the printed indexes, there is a microfilm index to the 1900 census and partial indexes to the 1880 and 1910 censuses. From these printed and microfilm indexes you can determine the exact page upon which a family was enumerated and then place your order with the General Reference Branch (NNRG) National Archives, Washington, DC 20408."

Passport Applications:

"The National Archives in Washington, DC, has passport applications and related papers, 1791-1926, of U.S. citizens who intended to travel abroad. The staff will make limited searches for age and citizenship information in these records that are at least 75 years old. The name of the person who applied for a passport and the place and approximate date of application should be supplied. Requests for information from passport records after 1926 should be addressed to Passport Office, Department of State, Washington, DC 20520."


The National Archives has several incomplete series of customs passenger lists and immigration passenger lists of ships arriving from abroad at many Atlantic, Pacific, and gulf coast ports. The are also arrival records for immigration via Canada. Customs passenger lists begin in 1820 and extend to the late 19th century (1890's) for most ports. The immigration passenger lists begin at that time, usually when the customs lists leave off.

Baltimore       1820-1948                 1820-1952

BOSTON          1820-74                   1848-91, 1883-1843, 1902-20

GALVESTON       1896-1948                 1896-1951

NEW ORLEANS     1820-1945                 1853-1952

NEW YORK        1820-1954                 1820-46, 1897-1948

PHILADELPHIA    1800-1945                 1800-1948

SAN FRANCISCO   1893-1953                 1893-1934

SEATTLE         1890-1957

                1895-1954                 1895-1952

                1820-73, 1893-1954

Supplementing the indexes listed above is a general index to quarterly reports of arrivals at most ports except New York, 1820-74, Passenger lists before 1820 are not in the National Archives except for a small, incomplete collection for the port of Philadelphia. They may be on file at the port of entry in the state archives where the port is located. Passenger and Immigration List Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records . . ., by P. William Filby, and A Bibliography of Ship Passenger Lists, 1583-1825, by Harold Lancour, are guides to published lists of early immigrants to North America. Your local library may either have these publications or be able to assist you in locating copies.

A customs passenger list normally contains the following information for each passenger: Name, age, sex, and occupation; the country of embarkation, and the country of destination. For one who died in passage, the date and circumstances of death are given. Immigration passenger lists vary in information content but usually show the place of birth and last place of residence in addition to the information found in the customs passenger lists. Some of the immigration passenger lists included the name and address of a relative in the country from which the passenger came.

National Archives staff in Washington, DC will search the customs passenger lists if in addition to the names of the passenger and the port of entry an inquirer can supply the following information; the name of the vessel and month and year of its arrival or the name of the port of embarkation and the exact date of arrival. It will also search the immigration passenger lists up to 1954 when the lists are held by the National Archives if an inquirer can give the full names and ages of the passenger and of accompanying passengers, the port of entry, the vessel, and exact date of arrival. The staff will also consult existing indexes to the names on the customs and immigration passenger lists provided an inquirer can supply the name of the port of entry and month and year of arrival. Request for searches should be made on NATF Form 81, Order for Copies of Ship Passenger Arrival Records.

Microfilm copies of available passenger lists earlier than 1955 can be used in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Some microfilm copies of lists are also available in the regional archives. Researchers should contact the nearest regional archives for information about microfilm available.

The Morton Allen Directory of European Passenger Steamship Arrivals (New York, 1931) lists by year, steamship, company, and exact date the names of vessels arriving at the ports of New York, 1890-1930, and Baltimore, Boston, and Philadelphia, 1904-26. The publication is available in some large public and research libraries.

last changed: April 3, 1999
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