A full list of sources can be found here.
Contained in this database are passenger arrival and departure lists, and crew arrival and departure lists for vessels that were filed at various ports in New York. The captain or master of each vessel was required to submit these lists to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) upon arrival if they had departed from a Canadian or other foreign port, or whose last scheduled U.S. port of arrival was in New York. Some lists may indicate other ports of arrival; however, they are included in this collection if they were filed at New York ports. See the browse menu for a complete list of ports and the year ranges included for each port.
About the Passenger and Crew Lists:
Some crew lists for foreign vessels that stopped in New York as either their first or last U.S. port of arrival are included. The majority of crew members consisted of Canadian and American citizens, but there were some foreign crew members as well primarily sailing from European ports. In the 1950s the non-Canadian foreign crews sailing from European or other foreign ports increased. Changes like these in crew meant that additional forms had to be submitted, so arrival lists will sometimes contain these supplementary forms. Due to the variety of forms, the amount of information available on passenger and crew lists for an individual will vary. Lists can also include passengers who were family members of seamen.
INS forms used to record information about passengers, crew members, and aliens:
- Form 680 or I-480, List or Manifest of Aliens Employed on the Vessel as Members of the Crew (used in 1945)
- Form I-481, List or Manifest of all Persons Employed on a Great Lakes Vessel (used in 1945)
- Form I-489, Statement of Changes in Crew; can include crewmen who deserted, were discharged, were left in a hospital at the port of arrival, or signed on at the port of arrival
- Form I-418, Passenger List / Crew List (although this form is named in these records as a U.S. Customs Service form, it was normally an INS form)
- Form I-259, Notice to Deliver, Detain on Board, or Remove Alien
Information listed may include:
- Name of passenger or crewman
- Date of arrival
- Port of departure
- Ethnicity, citizenship, or nationality
About the Index to Alien Crewmen:
Discharged crewmen, rather than deserted sailors, comprise the majority of the entries in this index. They are recorded on typewritten index cards arranged in alphabetical order and contain the names of one or more crewmen. The same crewman may have been discharged several times, so you may see the same individual in this database several times.
Information listed on the cards includes:
- Name of crewman
- Date of discharge or desertion
- Volume number in which crewman can be found in NARA microfilm series T715, Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1897-1957 (for discharges or desertions dating from 1917-c. 1933 only; you will need to consult the NARA T715 microfilm roll list in order to tell which volume numbers correspond with which microfilm numbers).
Anomalies and Special Notes:
Some outbound crew lists / passenger lists for May 1972–May 1974 in the Buffalo, New York, files are erroneously recorded as outbound; however, most of these vessels arrived in Buffalo or Lackawanna, New York, after departure from a foreign port and were destined for another U.S. port in the Upper Great Lakes. Included in this series is a passenger list for the vessel Finnhawk, which departed from Albany, New York, for Vera Cruz, Mexico.
Also included in this database are crew lists for the following ships whose departure or arrival dates are in 1972 and 1973 from ports other than Buffalo or Oswego, but are all filed in the 1973 series: Gladys Bowater, which arrived and departed from Rochester, New York, in May of 1972; Stolt Atlantic, which departed from Cleveland, Ohio, in Aug of 1972 and then departed from Chicago, Illinois, in August of 1972; and the Caribou Reefer, which arrived and departed from Gloucester, Massachusetts, February of 1973.
Some of the records filmed by the INS on microfilm are difficult to read, but cannot be corrected because the original records have been destroyed.
For more information on these record collections and some historical background on immigration, please consult the NARA Descriptive Pamphlets for microfilm publications.