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  • UPDATED COLLECTION

    U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992

    Learn about millions of new citizens as they become Americans.

  • UPDATED COLLECTION

    Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943

    See if your ancestor was among those who entered America via Boston found in our collection of Boston passenger and crew lists.

U.S. IMMIGRATION COLLECTION

It wasn’t easy to get here.
But it’s easy to go back.

They left everything they knew — sometimes even everyone they loved — to start a new life in a country called America. The immigration story is epic, filled with tragedy and triumph. Adversity and love. Loss and promise. And it’s your story too. Our vast collection of immigration resources helps you paint a rich portrait of the people who came here and the lives they created.

Search for an immigrant ancestor. Not sure about exact dates and locations? Even a guess can help.

Search All Immigration Records

An epic saga, centuries in the making.

America has always been a country of immigrants, but immigration trends and policies varied through the years. Learn how each change affected your ancestors’ new home in our immigration timeline.

One ship. Very different experiences.

Just because they traveled together didn’t mean immigrants on the same ship had a similar voyage. Where their accommodations were on board — first class, second class or steerage — made all the difference.

Ellis Island wasn’t the end of their hardships.

Immigrants had a final stop on their journey to America, one that could prove more perilous to their quest for freedom than the ship's voyage itself — Ellis Island. But before they could get to the island, they sometimes had to wait hours or even days while their ship waited its turn to let passengers off. Numbered tags were pinned to the immigrant's clothes indicating the ship's passenger list page and line on which their names appeared. They were now ready to be processed.

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Coming to America: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestors

Learn how to use passenger lists and naturalization records on Ancestry.com to discover your family’s immigration stories.

Featured Collections

New York City, Ellis Island Oral Histories, 1892-1976 NEW

Listen to the incredible true stories of Ellis Island, from people who were there.

U.S. Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project) UPDATED

Discover new details about your relatives in 4.5 million records — 1.8 million from 11 states have just been added.

Boston Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1943 UPDATED

Learn about immigrant ancestors and the people who helped with their passage into Boston.

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Did your ancestors come through New York? Find out in this extensive collection.

Passenger and Immigration List Index, 1500s-1900s

Trace your relatives to early colonial America and beyond.

U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Get invaluable information like physical appearance, occupation and more from these detailed records.

Border Crossings, from Canada to U.S., 1895-1956

Learn about your immigrant ancestors who arrived in America via Canada.

Immigration Stories

Ten Tips for Translating Names

Sometimes a new life in a new country also meant a new name. Use these 10 tips to help follow that name before — and after — it changed. Read

Why Did They Leave?

War, famine, persecution or just
a better life — they all had their own reasons for coming to America. Learn

Mom Wasn’t From Beantown After All

What can you do with a passenger list? Use it to discover that your mother wasn’t from Boston — or even the U.S. — like this Ancestry.com member did. Read the story