Posted by Paul Rawlins on August 30, 2011 in Collections

If you haven’t noticed the banners, just in time for the end of the summer vacation season, is offering free access to our Immigration and Travel databases for a week.

To give you an idea of what’s included, here are a few numbers.

We divide our travel and immigration databases into six categories:

Category                                                                Number of Databases

Passenger Lists                                                                    166

Crew Lists                                                                              65

Border Crossings & Passports                                                 15

Citizenship & Naturalization Records                                       62

Immigration & Emigration Books                                          187

Ship Pictures and Descriptions                                                  2

And here’s a rough estimate of records available by country:

Country/Region             # Databases                      Approximate # of Records

Australia                                     22                                          15+ million

Canada                                       31                                         13.5+ million

Europe                                       99                                         32.5+ million

Germany                                    28                                           9.4+ million

United States                            246                                         33+ million

UK                                              40                                         18.7+ million

As for who you might find, here are a few ideas to keep in mind:

Some folks, like Greta Garbo, generated records on their way out of a country:

Ladislav Lowenstein (Peter Lorre) left a paper trail as he became a citizen of a new one:

Whether someone was planning a permanent stay or not, moving around itself could result in records. Here’s Charlie Chaplin on a passenger list returning from Japan in 1932.

Even crossing a border, like Mexican artist Frida Khalo did in 1930, could leave a trace.

Passports became more common (and eventually required) in the 20th century. Babe Ruth applied for one to do a little “baseball playing” in Cuba in 1920.

So come on in and take a little trip through the Immigration and Travel databases on us. You never know who you might meet along the way.


  1. Pierce

    I think the Immigration records should have an additional search field: Year (and maybe place) of birth. Often we only know an approximate year of birth from a census entry, with no real idea just when the person immigrated. The year of birth is often shown in the results list so it should be easy to add it to the search fields.

  2. Penny Wissen- Hobson

    I have Not been able to locate my Weisen/Wissen* ancestor’s arrivals except only when my Great-Grandfather Joseph Wissen return to Germany for visits in 1886.

    I could use some tips, on how to locate records
    of Joseph’s trips back to Germany, like in 1886. His father, (Joseph?)Marcus may have lived in Colone, Germany in 1886.
    Penny A. Wissen-Hobson

  3. Carol B. Moss

    I hope people understand that the U.S. Passport collection up to 1925 may actually have a picture of the person you are looking for. It is on the second page of the application so be sure and look for it. Keep in mind photos weren’t commonly used until about 1910 but look for it, or at least appreciate the physical description listed there in the earlier records of the collection!
    I love this collection. There is a ton of information!

  4. Paul Rawlins

    I will pass the idea along.

    I’m probably not the best person to answer you question, but I’ll see if I can find someone with some ideas. Are you looking for arrivals in Germany or the U.S.?

    Good point. So much to say about these collections, so little space. Glad you like them.

  5. Julie Ross

    This is a good thing for those who are not on Ancestry yet and then maybe they will keep digging? I will spread the word. i have a question:
    I found my John McGolrick index card from US Dept. of Labor etc. M-246. It asks for the date and port of arrival in US. It says St. John New Brunswick-Aug. 1855. Does this mean he came into the US in 1855? But he came into St. John at a different time? I seem to think he came into Wisconsin in 1855 from Canada and asked for naturalization in 1878 and the port he arrived in was St. John. One of the news articles I found on him mentioned that he came over from Ireland at a very young age.
    Thank you for your help, for I am not used to reading records of this type.
    Julie Ross

  6. Virginia

    FACTS Regarding American born females marrying husbands who were aliens:

    After 1907, marriage determined a woman’s nationality status completely. Under the act of March 2, 1907, all women acquired their husband’s nationality upon any marriage occurring after that date. This changed nothing for immigrant women, but U.S.-born citizen women could now lose their citizenship by any marriage to any alien. Most of these women subsequently regained their U.S. citizenship when their husbands naturalized. However, those who married Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, or other men racially ineligible to naturalize forfeited their U.S. citizenship. Similarly, many former U.S. citizen women found themselves married to men who were ineligible to citizenship for some other reason or who simply refused to naturalize. Because the courts held that a husband’s nationality would always determine that of the wife, a married woman could not legally file for naturalization.(6)

    Happily, Congress was at work and on September 22, 1922, passed the Married Women’s Act, also known as the Cable Act. This 1922 law finally gave each woman a nationality of her own. No marriage since that date has granted U.S. citizenship to any alien woman nor taken it from any U.S.-born women who married an alien eligible to naturalization.(11) Under the new law women became eligible to naturalize on (almost) the same terms as men. The only difference concerned those women whose husbands had already naturalized. If her husband was a citizen, the wife did not need to file a declaration of intention. She could initiate naturalization proceedings with a petition alone (one-paper naturalization). A woman whose husband remained an alien had to start at the beginning, with a declaration of intention. It is important to note that women who lost citizenship by marriage and regained it under Cable Act naturalization provisions could file in any naturalization court–regardless of her residence.(12)

    So when searching Citizenship and naturalization records, do not overlook any female relatives who may fit the above facts. (I found one and it was full of great information!!!)

  7. Sherry Primmer

    I have not found the immigration records to be helpful. Even though I have given quite a bit information about the person I am looking for, I am given about 25,000 names to search. I hope will extend our time to search because this will take me MONTHS!

    Why does my search give me so many names to search through?


  8. BEE

    regarding Sherry’s #10 comment – Another reason to hate “new search” – I’m glad that I’m not just starting out using ancestry.
    No matter how much I try to use “new search” – and I do, especially for ship manifests that I can’t find, and I know many “tricks”, I have never found anything on it that I didn’t find much easier using {in my humble opinion} the less complicated “old search” – if I find it at all.

  9. Martha Sobolow Friedman

    I was under the impression that we could find info on people using their names. I can’t find anything about my grandparents or any other family member that came from Europe. I keep getting the page to sign up. I was hoping to get to see how this worked, but it’s useless.

  10. Jan Swatling

    I agree with Martha Sobolow Friedman. I keep getting a sign-up page also. I must have misunderstood your ads stating that this is a “free” weekend.

Comments are closed.