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Seeking your ancestors' US arrival records? Here are two examples of how find them in's immigration records collection.

Searching for Early Arrivals

While there are plenty of options for finding ancestors who arrived in the great waves of the 19th and early 20th centuries, what about those who came to America before it was the United States? can help find the elusive origins of these Colonial ancestors, too.


1. Francis Stanfield is way back in my family tree -- my seventh-great grandfather -- so I didn't have much information to fill in the blanks in an online search form. For these bare bones,'s basic search form would do. Note that it doesn't give you the Exact or "Exact plus" choices for dates, names and locations.


2. The upside of this simple search was that not very many people born about 1643 were coming to America from anyplace. Luckily, not knowing much about Francis Stanfield proved no problem: I got hits right away -- and I could ignore the site's nag about "A little more information will give you better results."


3. The first three hits proved to contain similar information, but look what a gold mine! Not only did I find the year and arrival port in Philadelphia, but the names of his wife and the children who accompanied them.

4. Going back and clicking on a match (further down the list) to the digitized book Passengers and Ships Prior to 1684, I got a lengthy writeup -- a footnote to a brief listing for Francis Stanford (Stanfield) narrowing his arrival to July 1683. Besides details about the traveling party (even their death dates) and the name of the ship (Endeavour), this footnote includes the critical data that they came from Garton, Cheshire -- I'd "jumped the pond" in tracing them back to England.

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