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Now What? Finding Baltimore Ship Manifests
4/16/2010
Do ship manifests from the Baltimore City Archives still exist? Expert answers for your genealogical questions.
Q: Are any of the early ship manifests originally held at the Baltimore City Archives still in existence?
 
A: An 1833 Maryland state law required masters of vessels arriving at Baltimore’s port to submit lists of passengers to the mayor. These “city lists,” covering September 1833 to October 1866, include the age and occupation of each passenger. They can help fill in gaps in the passenger lists submitted to the customs office in Baltimore, which have been microfilmed by the National Archives <archives.gov> (as Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, 1820-91) and are available on Ancestry.com <Ancestry.com >. The Records Management Office of the Department of Legislative Reference in Baltimore now holds the city lists.
 
From 1935 to 1937, the Works Progress Administration compiled an index to these Baltimore city passenger lists, using the Soundex system in which names are encoded to consolidate most spelling variations.
 
The National Archives received this card index in 1954 and subsequently microfilmed it on 22 rolls (called Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Baltimore, 1833-1866). You can purchase this microfilm from the archives or view it at the main Washington, DC, facility or at these NARA regional offices: Pacific Region, Rocky Mountain Region, Northeast Region and the Mid-Atlantic Region.
 
The Family History Library <www.familysearch.org> also has this microfilm, so you can borrow it through your local Family History Center—find your nearest branch at <familytreemagazine.com/fhcs>.

 
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