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New York, Passenger Arrival Lists, Ellis Island - 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: New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island),1892-1924  and New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924.
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Record Description[edit | edit source]

This article covers multiple collections.

The collections consist of passenger lists of 25 million people (not just immigrants) who arrived at Ellis Island, Port of New York, during the years 1892 to 1924.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island),1892-1924.

Record Content[edit | edit source]

The card index to passenger lists includes the following information:

  • Name of immigrant
  • Accompanied by
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Occupation
  • Nationality
  • Last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Port of entry
  • Name of vessel
  • Date of arrival

Passenger lists, particularly later lists, include the following information:

  • Names of immigrants and close relatives
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Birthplaces, former residences, and intended destinations
  • Marital status
  • Nationality and race
  • Occupations
  • Date of arrival
  • Port of departure

How to Use the Records[edit | edit source]

To begin your search it is helpful to know:

  • Name of the immigrant
  • Date of entry into the United States

If you do not know this information, check the federal census records after 1900.

Search the Collection[edit | edit source]

To search the collection by name fill in your ancestor’s name in the initial search page. This search will return a list of possible matches. Compare the information about those in the list to what you already know about your own ancestors to determine if this is the correct family or person.

If you did not find the person you were looking for, you may need to search the collection by image.
⇒Select "Browse through images" on the initial collection page
⇒Select the appropriate "NARA Roll Number" which takes you to the images.

Look at each image comparing the information with what you already know about your ancestors to determine if the image relates to them. You may need to look at several images and compare the information about the individuals listed in those images to your ancestors to make this determination.

With either search keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

For tips about searching on-line collections see the on-line article FamilySearch Search Tips and Tricks.

Using the Information[edit | edit source]

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family. For example, you can use passenger lists to:

  • Learn an immigrant’s place of origin
  • Confirm their date of arrival
  • Learn foreign and “Americanized” names
  • Find records in his or her country of origin such as emigrations, port records, or ship manifests

Tips to Keep in Mind[edit | edit source]

  • If your ancestor had a common name, be sure to look at all the entries for a name before you decide which is correct.
  • Continue to search the passenger lists to identify siblings, parents, and other relatives in the same or other generations who may have immigrated at the same time.
  • If your ancestor has an uncommon surname, you may want to obtain the passenger list of every person who shares your ancestor’s surname if they lived in the same county or nearby. You may not know how or if they are related, but the information could lead you to more information about your own ancestors.

Unable to Find Your Ancestor?[edit | edit source]

  • Check for variant spellings. Realize that the indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings and misinterpretations.
  • Try a different index if there is one for the years needed. You may also need to search the passenger lists year by year.
  • Search the indexes of other port cities.

General Information About These Records[edit | edit source]

Please note that when you select an image to view, sometimes the manifest includes more than one page and, when you use the "click to enlarge manifest" link, the image that appears is not always the first page of the record. You may need to click on the "previous" or "next" links to view the remaining pages of the full manifest.

The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. They are usually typewritten and occupy two pages.

Passenger arrival lists, known as customs manifests, date back to 1820. However, the first official emigration station for New York was Castle Garden, located at the tip of lower Manhattan. Congressional action in 1891 resulted in federal immigration officials recording the immigrants’ arrival. After January 1892, passengers arriving in New York debarked at Ellis Island, located east of Manhattan in the New York Harbor. From 1892 to 1924, almost all immigrants entered the United States through the port of New York.

The passenger arrival list was used by legal inspectors at Ellis Island to cross-examine each immigrant during a legal inspection prior to the person being allowed to live in America. Only two percent of the prospective immigrants were denied entry.

The information was supplied by the immigrant or a traveling companion (usually a family member). Incorrect information was occasionally given, or mistakes may have been made when the clerk guessed at the spelling of foreign names. These indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

Known Issues with This Collection[edit | edit source]

For a full list of all known issues associated with this collection see the attached Wiki article. If you encounter additional problems, please email them to support@familysearch.org. Please include the full path to the link and a description of the problem in your e-mail. Your assistance will help ensure that future reworks will be considered.

Related Web Sites[edit | edit source]

Related Wiki Articles[edit | edit source]

How You Can Contribute[edit | edit source]

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 Historical Records.

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


Citations for This Collection[edit | edit source]

When you copy information from a record, you should list where you found the information; that is, cite your sources. This will help people find the record again and evaluate the reliability of the source. 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. Citations are available for the collection as a whole and each record or image individually.

Collection citation:

Collection Citation:
The citation for this collection can be found on the Collection Details Page in the section Citing this Collection.



Record Citation (or citation for the index entry):

When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record. You can search records in this collection by visiting the search page for New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924.


Image Citation:
This template has been deprecated and is no longer used.

When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen. You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for New York, Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island),1892-1924.