Nearly everyone living in America comes from ancestors who have immigrated to America from another country. If you are not 100% Native American then you have immigrant blood running through your veins. That means that at least one or more of your blood lines can be traced to another country. With that in mind, most of us will most likely find the New York Passenger Lists of some value as a valuable resource when researching our ancestry.
The New York Passenger Arrival Lists (1892-1924) is a name index to 25 million people (not just immigrants) who arrived in America through Ellis Island in New York from 1892 through 1924. In addition, this index includes a link to arrival lists at the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Web site.
General Information about These Records
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 each immigrant’s 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). These indexes may contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned. In some cases, inaccurate information may have been given by the immigrant in hopes of avoiding problesm with entry into the country.
The lists consist of large sheets of paper divided into columns and rows. They are usually typewritten and occupy two pages. 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.