Search for immigrants arriving in the USA

In this note we will deal with the search for immigrants arriving in the USA, we will explain why a search in these records is interesting.

Why look for information in the records of immigrant entry into the United States?

A search of the databases of the northern country is convenient because:

1. The database includes individuals who passed through New York in transit to their final destination.

2. it is likely that families have been divided, deciding to migrate some to North America and others to South America, in search of better opportunities.

3. you can find relatives who left Buenos Aires (or another American port) for New York, perhaps looking for another destination.

4. the family was able to settle at first in the USA and then go to South America.

5. You can use this database as a kind of locator, like other sites that show the distribution of a surname in a country. Being the USA the country chosen by millions of immigrants (it absorbed approximately 20% of the 55 million European immigrants who left their native country), the bases of Ellis Island can guide us on the origin of a surname, especially in those cases of unusual surnames.

Below, we will analyze the records of income to the United States:

Income to the United States between 1820 and 1913 (except New York)

Chronology of the entries to the port of New York (1820 and 1957)

New York State opened the first processing center for immigrants called Castle Garden in 1855, on an island at the southwestern tip of Manhattan, during the dramatic wave of European emigration. Over the next 35 years, more than 8 million people passed through Castle Garden, mostly from Germany and Ireland, and later from Italy and Eastern Europe.

Before the Castle Garden immigration center opened in 1855, passengers simply got off ships at the Manhattan pier. There was no central processing center and these immigrants were recorded on passenger arrival lists beginning in 1820. The ships never actually docked on Ellis Island but disembarked in Manhattan and passengers were transported to the island for registration and sanitary review. Generally only third-class passengers went to Ellis Island for inspection; most of the first and second classes were allowed to leave the ship shortly after touching port. However, all passengers were listed in the ship's manifest (or passenger list).

In 1875 Congress passed a law prohibiting the entry into the U.S. of criminals and women "brought for immoral and lewd purposes." In 1890 the Treasury Department assumed full control of immigration in New York Harbor, but New York State authorities denied the federal government the use of the Castle Garden facilities. For this reason, a temporary center was established in the former Barge Office near the Customs House southeast of Manhattan.

Ellis Island opened on October 1, 1892. On June 14, 1897 the original wooden structure was burned to the ground.

ALL of castle garden's administrative records for the period 1855-1890 and also records of the Barge Office and Ellis facilities were lost (although some collections found in other offices were preserved). The temporary facilities of Barge Office were reactivated and used until the new Ellis Island center opened on December 17, 1900.

Chronology

1. 1 August 1855- 18 April 1890 – Entrance to Castle Garden
2. 19 April 1890 – 31 December 1891 – Admission by Barge Office
3. 1 October 1892 – 13 June 1897 – Entrance by Ellis Island
4. 14 June 1897 – 16 December 1900 – Admission by Barge Office
5. December 17, 1900 – 1924 – Entrance by Ellis Island

Revenue to the Port of New York – Records Inquiry

To seek an immigrant's entry or temporary stay in new York Harbor, the following collections of digital images or transcripts of records are available:

  • Revenue 1820-1891 – FamilySearch has put online digital images of the entrances to the port of New York between 1820 and 1891, that is, entries corresponding to the period of Castle Garden and pre-Castle Garden. But, only in digital image format, without index or search engine, being able to perform a combined search between both sites.
  • The Castle Garden database (now searchable on FamilySearch), contains the income of immigrants to the United States from 1820 to 1913, coinciding with the Ellis Island database between the years 1890-1913.
  • Ellis Island This database includes the nearly 25 million passengers (tourists, immigrants, U.S. citizens returning to their country, transit passengers, and crew members) of ships that arrived at New York Harbor in the years 1892-1924, when immigration slowed down due to government-imposed restrictions.
    Let us always remember that this database not only includes those passengers whose final destination was the United States, but also those who were passing through other countries. An update to the database made at the end of 2014 incorporated the income produced between the years 1924-1957.
    Ellis Island records provide detailed information about immigrants, including their age and port of origin. Registration is required. It should be clarified that there are numerous transcription errors for surnames of Italian, French, etc. origin, totally understandable by the linguistic differences between those who transcribed the records and the surnames and / or places indicated in the lists.
  • Revenue 1820-1957 – The genealogy company Ancestry (tariffed) has put online lists of passengers embarked at these ports, data taken from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). These are the Passenger Lists arrived in New York – 1820-1957, this database is broader than that of Ellis Island, as it covers the period 1892-1924) – Available in the new Ellis Island update.

Entrances to other PORTS IN THE USA

Immigrants entered the United States primarily through ports located over the North Atlantic, in order of importance: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Through New York, on Ellis Island, approximately one-third of all immigrants entered the United States.
Baltimore Harbor Passenger Lists – 1820-1872
Baltimore Harbor Entrances – 1892-1948
Passengers Arriving at Boston Harbor – 1820-1943

To seek an immigrant's entry or temporary stay in the Port of New York:

  • Revenue 1820-1891 – FamilySearch has put online digital images of the entrances to the port of New York between 1820 and 1891, that is, entries corresponding to the period of Castle Garden and pre-Castle Garden. But, only in digital image format, without index or search engine, being able to perform a combined search between both sites.
  • The Castle Garden database (now available on FamilySearch), you can consult online the income of immigrants to the United States from 1820 to 1913, coinciding with the Ellis Island database between the years 1890-1913.

Entry into the United States through Border Crossings

An immigrant caneither disembark in Canada or Mexico and then settle in the United States. In FamilySearch you can consult two databases with records of people who entered from Mexico and Canada. To see the corresponding digitized images you have to be subscribed to the site Ancestry.com, but by an agreement between both sites, the database is consulted for free in FamilySearch.

Border Crossings From Canada to United States, 1895-1956 – This database contains an index of native and foreign nationals who crossed into the U.S. from Canada through various points of entry along the U.S.-Canada border between 1895 and 1956. A free index can be consulted in FanilySearch and to see digitized images you have to access the Ancestry site (tariffed).

Border Crossings From Mexico to United States, 1903-1957 – Index of records of native Mexicans and foreigners who crossed into the United States of America from Mexico through various points of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border between 1903 and 1957. A free index can be consulted in FamilySearch and to see digitized images you have to access the Ancestry site (tariffed).

Naturalization Records

Also in FamilySearch you can consult a series of indexes corresponding to naturalizations and requests for naturalizations of the district of New York.

ISTG (Society of Immigrant Ship Transcriptionists)

Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild is a volunteer organization that transcribes passenger lists to the United States, records found in the U.S. National Archives. Among those files we find immigrants entering the U.S. through other ports and through the border crossings between Mexico and Canada. New lists are added continuously so it should be checked frequently.
Currently, passenger manifests are available for some 5,000 ships dating from 1600 onwards. It can be searched by date, port of departure, port of arrival, name of the ship or name of its captain. You can see our transcribed lists of passengers, including the names of the captains. They have completed 12 volumes, each containing 1000 passenger lists.

Search for immigrants arriving in the USA on the NARA website

The NARA (National Archives and Records Administration) website has a section called AAD (Access to Archival Databases); where you can consult some immigration records that were selected because the data identifies specific groups of people. Regarding immigration records NARA has put 4 databases online:

Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Germans to the United States, documenting the period 1850 – 1897 Data files relating to the immigration of Germans to the United States, documenting the period 1850 – 1897 Total: 4,108,378 records
Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Italians to the United States, documenting the period 1855 – 1900 Data files relating to the immigration of Italians to the United States, documenting the period 1855 – 1900 Total: 884,839 records
Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Russians to the United States, documenting the period 1834 – 1897 Data files relating toimmigration to the United States, documenting the period 1834 – 1897 Total: 566,865 records
Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, documenting the period 1/12/1846 Records of passengers arriving in New York Harbor during the Great Irish Famine, documenting the period 01/12/1846 to 12/31/1851 Total: 607,822 records

These are immigrants who entered through Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia, although most of them correspond to passengers who arrived at the port of New York.
The NARA database consists of an index indicating the date of arrival of the immigrant and the Manifest number, among other things. With this data you could request a copy of the manifesto, or search the websites that offer digitized records mentioned above.
For more details you can consult the FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions) of the site.

chronology income to ellis island