Boston Passenger Lists
In addition to using microfilm available at the National Archives, you can now search Boston passenger lists online at one of several Web sites. Through this site, we share details about the history of immigration, but focus on special tips to search passenger arrival records. Use of this site is completely FREE, but please note that some sites described and linked to may require subscription or payment to fully utilize their services.
Below is a listing of some other popular U.S. ports available for online searching:
Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1948
Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943
California Passenger and Crew Lists, 1893-1957
New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1820-1945
Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1945
Passenger & Immigration Lists Index, 1500s - 1900s
About Boston Passenger Lists, 1820-1943
This database is an index to the passenger lists of ships arriving from foreign ports at the port of Boston, Massachusetts from 1820-1943. In addition, the names found in the index are linked to actual images of the passenger lists, copied from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm series, T843 (rolls 1-454) and M277 (rolls 1-115).
Information contained in the index includes given name, surname, age, gender, ethnicity, nationality or last country of permanent residence, destination, arrival date, port of arrival, port of departure, ship name, and microfilm roll and page number. If a name of a friend or relative whom the individual was going to join with, or a place of nativity was provided, that information is included in the index as well. Many of these items may be used to search the index in the search template above.
It is important to note that the port of departure listed on these passenger lists is not always the original port of departure for these individuals. A ship could make several voyages throughout the year, making several stops along the way. Oft times the port of departure found on these lists is the most recent port the ship was located at prior to arriving at the port of Boston. Therefore, if your ancestors emigrated to the U.S. from Germany, they could be found on a passenger list coming from Liverpool, England (if, in this case, the ship left from Bremen, Germany then continued on to Liverpool, England before arriving in Boston).
The microcopies of the passenger lists found at NARA are arranged chronologically by arrival date of vessel. If you do not wish to search this database using the search template, the images may be browsed following the chronological arrangement. To browse the images first select the "Year" in which you would like to search, followed by the "Month", and finally the "Ship Name".
To learn about researching in passenger records consult John P. Colletta's book, They Came In Ships (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993).
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