American Family Immigration History Center
If you’re among the 40 percent of Americans with an ancestor who came through Ellis Island, sail directly to this Web site. From 1892 to 1924, more than 22 million immigrants, passengers and crew members came through Ellis Island and the port of New York. Those ship manifests have been transcribed and are searchable here. In addition to seeing a digital copy of your ancestor’s name on a manifest, you can find photos of his or her ship. Copies of the official documents and photos may be purchased here. (See the June 2001 Family Tree Magazine for a complete guide to this site).
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
The guild is a group of 500 volunteers who transcribe ship passenger lists, then post them online. To date, it’s recorded the lists of more than 4,000 ships. Use the on-site search engine to mine the five volumes of transcriptions. Each volume is also indexed by surname, date, ship’s name and port of departure and arrival. Don’t miss the link to The Compass—a valuable resource for anyone researching immigrant ancestors.
Immigrants to Canada
Get a feel for the 19th-century Canadian immigrant experience through links to vessels and passenger lists, extracts of an 1887 immigration report on Scandinavian “colonization,” passenger accounts of voyages, immigrant handbooks and maps.
NARA’s introduction to immigration records spells out which passenger lists the archives has—and where to look for the ones it doesn’t. A port-by-port list provides details on 1800 to 1959 records, including how to order microfilms.