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Immigration Statistics NYC, Port of Entry Customs Passenger Lists
Immigration Pass. Lists Date of Entry? Published NYC Lists
NY Passenger Lists Links Bibliography Comprehensive Pass. Lists Links

Immigration Statistics

Nearly fifty million people have immigrated to America. Significant patterns of immigration and settlement can be observed during three periods:

Pre-1820. An estimated 650,000 individuals arrived in America before 1820. The majority (60 percent) were English and Welsh. Smaller numbers of German, Irish, Scotch-Irish, Dutch, French, Spanish, African, and other nationalities also arrived. For the most part these immigrants settled in small clusters in the eastern, middle-Atlantic, and southern states.

1820-1880. Over 10 million immigrants came from northern Europe, the British Isles, and Scandinavia during these years. There was a significant increase in the number of immigrants from Germany and Ireland beginning in the 1840s and 1850s. While some of the new arrivals settled in large eastern and mid-western cities, most migrated to the mid-west and west.

1880-1920. More than 25 million immigrants, primarily from southern and eastern Europe, were attracted to this country. The largest numbers (in order) came from Germany, Italy, Ireland, Austria-Hungary, Russia, and England. Many of these immigrants settled in the larger cities, including New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

New York City, Port of Entry

Immigrants came to several ports to gain entry of the United States but by far, New York City was the most popular port of entry.  Between 1820 to 1920, 23,960,00 emigrants entered the country via New York City! (The next port is Boston, MA where 2,050,000 entered the country.)  Many of the NYC passenger lists have been microfilmed, published or indexed. 

Before 1820, government authorities did not require passenger lists, but lists were sometimes made.  Many ship captains either did not make passenger lists or did not give them to the port authorities to keep.  The ships passenger lists which were made usually only listed the names of the heads of families.

Starting in 1820, the US Government required ship captains to make passenger lists and give them to immigration authorities.  The lists became more detailed.  Names and other information about all passengers were required.

There are two types of ships' passenger arrival lists for New York City:

  • Customs Passenger Lists
  • Immigration Passenger Lists

Customs Passenger Lists
Original lists for New York City are available from 1820 to June 17, 1897; 1840-74; 1875-97 (with some gaps).  These records were prepared by the ships' masters and generally tell the name of the vessel, name of the master, name of the port of embarkation, date of arrival, name of port of arrival, and for each passenger, name, age, sex, occupation, name of country of origin and country of intended settlement, and death and circumstances of death en route if applicable.  Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820--1846 (M261. 103 rolls)
LDS Family History Library film numbers for the above rolls.
Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820--1897  (M237. 675 rolls)
LDS Family History film numbers for the above rolls.

There are also copies and abstracts covering a period between 1820 and 1905.  Some of these are just the same as the originals and in many cases they can be used to fill gaps in the original lists.  They were prepared by the customs collectors and were forwarded to the State Department usually every quarter.  Many collectors made abreviated abstracts of the original list to forward to Washington.  The National Archives (NARA) has some copies and abstracts for New York City but they are not complete for the 85 year period.

Transcripts from the US State Department give basically the same info as the original lists.  There are eight volumes of them in the National Archives covering only December 31, 1819 to December 31, 1832 and one volume is missing which covers September 20, 1820 to Sept 1821.  The volumes are arranged by quarter year of arrival, then by port, then by name of vessel, and then by name of passenger.

Immigration Passenger Lists
The earliest Immigration Passenger Lists for the port of New York City begin in 1897.  There is also some restriction on the use of these records.  Both the records and their indexes are considered confidential and are restricted for a fifty year period.  The following are available through NARA:
Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, June 16, 1897--June 30, 1902. (T519. 115 rolls)
LDS Family History Library film numbers for the above rolls.
Index (Soundex) to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, July 1, 1902--December 31, 1943. (T621. 755 rolls)
LDS Family History Library film numbers for the above rolls.
Book Indexes to New York Passenger Lists, 1906--1942. (T612. 807 rolls, A complete list of rolls has been added.) These alphabetical indexes to passenger manifests are grouped by shipping line and arranged chronologically by date of arrival in the Port of New York. There is an index for each vessel.
Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1897--1957. (T715. 8,892 rolls, Rolls 6675--8892 are new listings)
LDS Family History Library film numbers for above rolls.
Index (Soundex) to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at the Port of New York, 1944-48. (M1417. 94 rolls)

  Ancestry Immigration Collection

How can I find the approximate date my ancestor entered the United States?

The following censuses may tell you the year your ancestor came into the United States:
1900 census.
1910 census.
1920 census.

You can find indications of approximately when someone came to the United States by: The first United States census the person appears in.  Places of birth of children. After 1850, the censuses show birthplaces. If some of the children were born in the "old" country, and some were born in the United States, you have a good indication of when the mother immigrated.

NY Passenger Lists Links

Castle Garden

Wards Island

Ellis Island

Olive Tree Genealogy

Assorted Names, NYC Passengers 1820-1850

Comprehensive Passenger Lists Links

Firstmom's Genealogy Resources: Immigrant Ship Passenger Lists & Manifests
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild: 5000 ships transcribed
The Olive Tree Genealogy: includes passenger lists for all of America's major Atlantic ports, plus European, British, and Canadian records
Emigration / Ship Lists and Resources: links to passenger lists and immigration data bases
Open Directory Project: directory to passenger and immigration links including Ellis Island
The Ships List: Some ships passenger lists, schedules, wreck data, and other information which is not readily available
GenSwap Passenger Lists Links: a list of web sites that contain genealogy data online
Passenger Lists on the Internet: Links to ships lists and short descriptions of each link
Ship Descriptions: Ship Descriptions from Various Internet Mailing Lists
Ship Histories: a terrific way to learn the history of the ship
Links to Ships and Immigration Centers: many links and LDS numbers for passenger lists
Rootsweb's Passenger Lists: search engine for a Database that contains 10696 records (4852 distinct surnames)
Cimorelli Immigration Manifests Online: online collection of databases comprised of the Morton Allan Directory, M1066 Microfilm series from NARA, various newspaper articles, Internet sources,


  • Germans to America:  Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports, by Ira A. Glazier, P. William Filby 1988 (work in progress covers 1850-1892, 50 volumes)

  • The Famine Innigrants:  Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York, 1846-1851, by Ira A. Glazier, Michael Tepper 1986 (7 volumes)

  • Irish Passenger Lists 1847-1871:  Lists of Passengers Sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of the J. & J. Cooke Line and he McCorkell Line, by Brian Mitchell, 1988

  • Dutch Immigrants in U.S. Ship Passenger Manifests 1820-1880, by Robert P. Swierenga, 1983 (2 volumes)

  • Swedish Passenger Arrivals in New York, 1820-1850, by Nils William Olssons, 1967

  • German Immigrants:  Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, 1847-1871, by Gary J. Zimmerman, Marion Wolfert, 1985-93 (4 volumes)

  • Czech Immigration Passenger Lists, by Leo Baca, 1991

  • Index to Mennonite Immigrants on United States Passenger Lists, 1872-1904, by David A. Haury, 1986


  • American Passenger Arrival Records.  By Michael Tepper, 1993

  • The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd Edition.  By Val. D. Greenwood, 2000

  • United States Immigration Records, 1820 to 1943.  By FamilySearch Guide, 2001.

  • The United States National Archives & Records Administration.  NARA website, 2002.



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