To extend your ancestral lines overseas, you’ll have to track down your immigrant ancestors. These six Web sites contain millions of names from passenger lists all the way back to the Mayflower. Before you embark on your own quest for immigrant ancestors, use this cheat sheet to plan your research.
|Web Site||Databases||Prices||Search Tips|
|Digital images of the National Archives’ passenger lists for all major US ports, mostly beginning in 1820. Plus: naturalization records, Colonial immigrant files, 1795-to-1925 passport applications and 1895-to-1956 Canadian border crossings. More than 22 million names total.||Part of US Deluxe Membership, $19.95 a month or $155.40 a year, and World Deluxe Membership, $29.95 a month or $299.40 a year.||Search the whole collection to do a broad sweep. Query individual databases for more search options.|
|CastleCarden.org <castlegarden.org>||The nonprofit Battery Conservancy created this searchable index to 10 million passengers landing in New York from 1830 to 1892, including arrivals to Castle Garden, the first US immigration station. Another 2 million transcriptions back to 1820 will be added later.||Free||View original passenger lists on Ancestry.com , on microfilm from the National Archives <archives.gov> or at a Family History Center.|
|Ellis Island <ellisisland.org>||The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s searchable database links to digitized passenger manifests showing 22 million passengers and crew members who came through Ellis Island and the Port of New York from 1892 to 1924.||Free. Framed manifest, $25 to $35. Picture of a ship, $10 to $12.50.||To view a passenger list, hit “Click to enlarge manifest.”|
Immigrant Ancestors Project
|Emigrant records created in the countries of departure, with an initial focus on England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Scotland and Spain. The project, from Brigham Young University’s Center for Family History and Genealogy, had 151,000 names in February, with 250,000 expected by September.||
|Search on part of a name. A search for Connel finds Connell, Connelly, McConnell and O’Connell.|
|Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild <www.immigrantships.net>||More than 500 volunteers have posted about 2 million names from 9,000 manifests for ports worldwide, spanning 1492 to 1966.||Free||Use quotation marks in the site’s FreeFind box to search on a full name, such as “Bernard Clark.”|
World Vital Records US and World Collections
|Records of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild and Ellis Island; New York-bound passengers from Bremen, Germany, 1847 to 1871; Irish immigrants to Saint John, Canada, 1841 to 1849; Scandinavian immigrants in New York, 1630 to 1674; Philadelphia passenger lists, 1800 to 1819; and more.||
US Collection, $5.95 a month or $49.95 a year; World Collection, $119.95 a year.
|Try searching on a person’s name with and without place names and keywords.|