Finding the minimum information for passenger lists
To find the name of the port of entry on a passenger list, you must at least know the individual's full name and the year or month and year arrival. However, the more information you know, the better. For example, if you know the individual's nationality or the port of arrival, you will be able to narrow down your search. If you do not have the minimum information to find a passenger list, you can either:
Get help finding some of the minimum information by selecting one of the following items,
click the Back button on your browser to return to the list of other places where you can find a port of entry, or
read the paragraphs below for a few additional tips.
Finding passenger lists
You can make some educated guesses at the port of entry. For example, many people moved hundreds of miles away from their port of entry, but others stayed in the general area. If you can make an educated guess, you at least have a possible place to start looking for passenger lists. If you don't know exactly where an individual lived when they arrived in the United States, you may be able to take a guess at it by finding out where they were at other points in their life. For example, where did they get married? Where were their children born? Where did they die? Where were they at the time of each census? The answers to these questions may help you out. For assistance finding any of this information, return to the main Step-by-Step topic.
If you have a possible port of entry, contact the state archives or National Archives branch in the vicinity of the port of entry and find out what type of ship arrival records they have for that port. Once you know the names and dates of ships that came through the port of entry, you can begin looking up passenger lists under various ship names. You don't have to look up the lists for all of the ships that came through that port, but only for those that came from a likely port of exit and arrived on the date you think your ancestor entered the country. Eventually, you may come across the passenger list that contains your ancestor's name.
Finding a port of entry
If you know that your ancestor departed from Hamburg, you should check the departure records that are available through the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The departure records for Hamburg are indexed by year from 1850-1934, and usually give the individual's town or village of residence in Europe.
Make sure to check photo albums, scrapbooks, diaries, and family Bibles at home. See the topic Finding information at home for more information. Also check for local histories. See the topic Finding previous research.
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