Ellis Island Cheat Sheet

By Rick Crume Premium

Quick Links
Advanced Passenger Search

Advanced Search Tips

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started in Genealogy

Gift Shop
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The Immigrant Experience

Search by Ship

Search Tips

The Ellis Island Museum


The Family Tree Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors
by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack (Family Tree Books)

FamilySearch Research Wiki: New York Ellis Island Passenger Lists


Forgotten Ellis Island: The Extraordinary Story of America’s Immigrant Hospital by Lorie Conway (Smithsonian Books)

The Forgotten of Ellis Island: Deaths in Quarantine, 1909-1911

Search the American Immigrant Wall of Honor

Search Strategies
Searching on a middle name: You can search by either a first name or initial, or by a middle name or initial, but not by both a first and middle name or initial: If you put a space in the First Name search box, you won’t get any matches. To search on more than one given name, use FamilySearch Record Search, FamilySearch Beta,,  or Steve Morse’s One-Step Gold Form.

Browsing by ship’s name: If you can’t find a match searching on a passenger’s name, but you know the ship’s name, use’s ship search feature to browse passenger lists by ship’s name. Select Search by Ship from the Passenger Search menu, the first letter of the ship’s name, an alphabet range and the ship’s name. Then you can browse lists by port of departure and date of arrival.

Browsing by arrival date: If you can’t find a match by searching on a passenger’s name, but you know the ship’s date of arrival, use the database New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957  to browse passenger lists by date of arrival. In the “Browse this collection” on the right side of the screen, select the year, month and day of the ship’s arrival, then click on a ship’s name.

You also could use the One-Step Gold Form to search for passengers on a particular date of arrival.

Finding missing manifests: In a few cases, a passenger name isn’t linked to the right manifest page, so you see no image or the wrong image. Note the information from the Passenger Record page, open a new window in your web browser and use Steve Morse’s  One-Step “missing manifests” search form  to find the right image on the site. You also could see if a library near you has passenger list microfilm for the port where your ancestor arrived, rent the film through a Family History Center, or search the Ellis Island database on

Customer support doesn’t help users with searches for individual ancestors. For assistance, look under the Passenger Search menu and click on Search Tips and Advanced Search Tips. Also see the FAQ link at the bottom of any screen. For questions about purchasing passenger records or other items, e-mail or call (212) 561-4588.