Expert advice on tracking down ancestors who immigrated through the port of New Orleans.
Q. Where do
I find records of immigrants who entered the United States through New Orleans?
Orleans was one of the busiest US ports. Many immigrants who landed there would then travel by riverboat up the Mississippi River and settle in states bordering the river. Arrival records for passengers who ended up in Galveston, Texas, may be in New Orleans: Some
ships would stop first at New Orleans, delivering their passenger lists and some passengers there, then sail on
to Galveston to let off more passengers.
easiest way to search New Orleans passenger lists is to use Ancestry.com’s
Immigration and Travel collection, which contains digitized National Archives
and Records Administration (NARA) passenger list microfilms for New Orleans
covering 1820 to 1902 and 1900 to 1952. Enter
New Orleans as the arrival location. (The same records are searchable through
Ancestry Library Edition, which is free at many libraries.)
You can view those
NARA microfilms at NARA research facilities, or you
can view the copies available at many large public libraries or through your
local FamilySearch Center. To use the microfilms, you’ll want to have an idea
of when your ancestors immigrated.
can find some pre-1820 lists of New Orleans passengers in various publications,
such as Passenger and Immigration Lists Index edited by P. William Filby (this
publication—also searchable on Ancestry.com, but not in Ancestry Library
Edition—contains arrivals at other US ports, too).