Researching Passenger Departures

Researching Passenger Departures

Expert genealogy answers on passenger departure records from Antwerp, Belgium.

Q. Where are passenger lists for ships sailing from Antwerp, Belgium? I can find the arrivals in New York, but not the corresponding departures.
A. Antwerp was an important departure port not only for emigrants from Belgium, but also for Germans headed to America. Unfortunately, only the embarkation lists for 1855 have survived; these are indexed and are available on microfilm through FamilySearch. This index covers about 5,100 emigrants, many from Germany, and lists name, age, place of origin, name of ship and place where the passport was issued.

German troops destroyed the other registers in 1914, at the outbreak of World War I. The Ludwigsburg State Archives has preserved a list of emigrants on the ship Vaterlands-Liebe, leaving Antwerp for Philadelphia in May 1817, but only those from Württemberg. You may be able to find records relating to your ancestors’ departure from Antwerp in the City Archives of Antwerp, which includes hotel registers, lists of émigrés, general records on German emigrants, and passport and visa registers. Most of these records are incomplete, however, so finding your ancestors may involve some luck. To learn more about this archive, visit

From the May/June 2014 Family Tree Magazine 

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