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German Genealogy

German Immigration: Ship Records and Passenger Lists

Overview of German Immigration
  • More persons immigrated to the United States from Germany than from any other county in the world.
  • Between 1820 and 1996 the largest ethnic groups were, in order, Germany (7 million), Mexico (5.5 million), Italy (5.3 million), Great Britain (5.1 million), and Ireland (5.1 million).
  • Little immigration occurred between 1776 and 1819 (because of the War of Independence, 1775-1783; and The War of 1812-14).

  • About 5,000 Hessian prisoners of war stayed in America after the War of Independence.
  • Many German speakers emigrated from Austria-Hungary and Russia but were not counted as Germans.
  • German immigrants, choosing the best farmland, settled mainly in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.
  • In 1900, about 40% of the farmlands of the U.S. were owned by German Americans.
  • Many U.S. cities had a high percentage of Germans. In 1900, American cities had the following percentage of German immigrants and their children compared to total populations: Milwaukee (70%), Davenport (62%), Hoboken (58%), Cincinnati (54%), St. Louis (45%), Buffalo (43%) and Detroit (41%).
  • Baltimore, the terminal of immigration ships from Bremerhaven in 1900 counted 28% of its population as first and second generation Germans. Among whites that year, 42 percent first and second generation Germans inhabited Baltimore. Other large American cities with a high percentage of first and second generation Germans in 1900 were New York (32%), Chicago (35%), and Cleveland (38%).
Source: Edward A. Fleckenstein, "The Distinguished German Ethnic Population of America -- (XVI)" in Der Volksfreund/ People's Friend (Buffalo) May/June 1998; as reported in "Germans: The Largest Immigrant Group in the United States,:" by Gary Carl Grassl, The German-American Heritage Society of Great Washington, D.C. Newsletter, Vol. XVII, no. 4, July 2000. Reprinted in Der Blumenbaum, 25, no. 1 (July, August, September 2007).
  • Abstracts and Identification of Entries Giving European Origins in Church Records of South Central Pennsylvania and Adjacent Areas; with Surname Index. Book 1. York, Pennsylvania: York County Historical Society, 1990.
  • - Immigration Databases  - Over 10 million US passenger & naturalization records from 15th-19th century, including 19th century NY passenger lists. (Requires paid subscription)
  • Boyer, Carl. Ship Passenger Lists. Several volumes. Newhall, California: The editor, 1980.
  • Bremen (Germany) - New York Passenger Lists  - Search the Bremen Chamber of Commerce's database of passenger lists 1920-1939, of over 120,000 passengers.
  • Bremen Passenger Lists 1920 - 1939.
  • Brownstone, David M., Irene M Franck and Douglass L Brownstone. Island of hope, island of tears. New York : Rawson, Wade Publishers, 1979. Personal accounts by immigrants from various countries who passed through Ellis Island.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselmann. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from German-Speaking Lands to North America, Vol I: The Northern Kraigau. Breinigsville, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1983.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselmann. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from German-Speaking Lands to North America, Vol. II: The Western Palatinate. Birdsboro, Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania German Society, 1985.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Eighteenth Century Emigrants from the Northern Alsace to America. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1992.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Emmigrants from Eppingen to American in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Myerstown, Pennsylvania: AKB Publications, 1987.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselmann. Master Index to the Emigrants Documented in the Published Works of Annette K. Burgert. Myerstown, Pennsylvania: AKB Publications, 1995.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman. Palatine Origins of Some Pennsylvania Pioneers. Myerstown, Pennsylvania: AKB Publications, 2000.
  • Burgert, Annette Kunselman and Henry Z. Jones. Westerwald to America: Some 18th Century German Immigrants. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1989.
  • Burkett, Brigitte. Emigrants from Baden and Württemberg in the Eighteenth Century: Vol. I Baden-Durlach and Vicinity. Camden, Maine: Picton Press, 1996.
  • Castle Garden Immigrant Database Online. An online database of information of about 10 million immigrants (with 2 million more in progress) for the years 1830 through 1892, the years before Ellis Island opened. All these records are extracted from the original ship manifests. The site's "Quick Search" allows a search by first name, last name, date range, place of origin, occupation, and name of ship. The "Advanced Searches" offer the ability to search the database using more fields, but without ancestor's name. An Advanced Search currently costs $45.
  • Colletta, John. They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Ancestor's Arrival Record.
  • DAUSA. Research Center German Emigrants in the USA at the University of Oldenburg. The Research Center collects letters, diaries, memoirs and other biographical evidence of emigrants from Germany. It has at its disposal 1586 rolls of microfilms with passenger lists (19th century). These rolls from the National Archives, Washington D.C., are available to the public in the library of the Oldenburg University.
  • Diestler, Martin A. "Tracing Emigrants Through Hamburg Police Records" P.G.S.A. Newsletter, Fall 1989, Vol. XII, No. 2, 34.

  • Early German Immigrants in Wisconsin. Janesville, Wisconsin: Origins, 199?
  • Ehman, Karl. Die Auswangerung in die Neuengland-Staaten aus Orten des Enzkreises im 18. Jahrhundert Sudwestdeutsche Blaetter fuer Familien-und Wappenkunde, special supplement. Stuttgart; Verein fuer Familien and Wappenkunde in Wuerttemberg und Baden, 1977.
  • Ellis Island. A searchable database of over 22 million passengers who came through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924; the database is not complete. Another online resource which can be used to search this site is <  >
  • Faust, Albert Bernhardt and Gaius Marcus Brumbaugh. Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies. 2 volumes. Washington, D.C.: The National Genealogical Society, 1920-25. Reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1976.
  • Filby, P. William & Mary K. Meyer. Passenger & Immigration Lists Index: a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 3 volumes. 1st ed. Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., c1981. Many supplements. Alphabetical listing of passengers who arrived in North America and the West Indies between 1538 and 1900, compiled from published sources: passenger lists and naturalization records. Entries include age, year of arrival or naturalization, with an abbreviation for the bibliographic citation with volume and page. Cumulative and annual supplements continue this important reference work
  • Finding Passenger Lists & Immigration Records 1820-1940sarrivals at US ports from Europe. By Joe Beine. This is a listing of indexes of passenger lists (also called immigration records or ship manifests) for ships that sailed to the United States from 1820 to the 1940s, including microfilm, CD-Roms, books and online indexes. Microfilm records listed here are available from the National Archives (NARA) and some of its branches. Most are also available from LDS Family History Centers. Some public libraries (especially genealogy libraries) may also carry these items.

  • Galveston Immigration Database. Database with access to 130,000 passengers who landed in Galveston between 1846 and 1948.
  • The German Americans: An Ethnic Experience.

  • THE GERMAN AND JEWISH INTELLECTUAL ÉMIGRÉ COLLECTION.  In recognition of the serious scholarly interest in the mass migration of German speaking exiles from the Nazi regime, a German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection was established in 1976 at the University at Albany, State University of New York. The German and Jewish Intellectual Émigré Collection is comprised of over 95 collections (approximately 750 cubic feet) of personal papers, organizational records, tape recordings, photographs, and related research materials documenting the German intellectual exodus of the 1930s and 1940s.
  • German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York 1847-1871 (books - these do not include every ship, only a small percentage)
  • The German Migration Resource Center encourages a world-wide exchange of genealogy information about German immigrants. Visitors may post or read an Immigrant Query, post or locate a German Family Reunion or Festival, and order genealogy books.
  • German-Bohemian Immigrant Surname Database

  • Germanic Genealogy: A Guide to Worldwide Sources and Migration Patterns. St. Paul, Minnesota: Germanic Genealogy Society, 1995.
  • Germans-from-Russia to US & Canadian Ports - a database that allows you to search by ship or passenger name, port of arrival, town/country of origin.
  • "Germans to America, lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports."
    The book series Germans to America is up to volume 60 now. This series indexes passenger arrival lists from US ports, giving names, ages, occupations, and sometimes places of origin for many German immigrants, grouped by families. It also lists the ship, ports, and the date of the passenger ship list. The quality of the transcription varies, and because of its inclusion criteria, it is to be considered an incomplete index to German passengers, but it still can be quite useful. Make sure you consult the original passenger lists also! These series can be found in many large research and genealogical libraries and should be consulted there. Broderbund publishes most of the book series in CD form: Family Archive CD 355: "Passenger and Immigration Lists: Germans to America, 1850-1874", and Family Archive CD 356: "Passenger and Immigration Lists: Germans to America, 1875-1888". These CDs contain some entries that are absent in the book series. The passengers are listed strictly alphabetically on the CDs; this often makes it difficult to discern family groups properly. They also do not list the port of arrival; for that information you must consult the books instead.  Germans to America : lists of passengers arriving at U.S. Ports 1850-1897.   Edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby. Wilmington, DE : Scholarly Resources, 1988-  v. : ill. ; 24 cm.  ISBN: 0-8420-2279-1 (set)  LC E184.G3 G38 1988. (See also Pitfalls in Germans to America)
  • Germans to America - Volumes Available.
  • Hacker, Werner. Auswanderungen aus Rheinpfalz und Saarland im 18. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart, Germany: Konrad Theiss, 1987.
  • Hacker, Werner. Auswanderungen aus Baden und dem Breisgau: Obere und Mittlere Rechtsseitige Oberrheinlande im 18. Jahrhundert Archivalisch Dcoumentiert. Stuttgart, Germany: Konrad Theiss, 1980.
  • Hacker, Werner. Eighteenth Century Register of Emigrants from Southwest Germany. Apollo, Pennsylvania: Closson Press, 1994.
  • Hacker, Werner. Kurpfaelzische Auswanderer vom Unteren Neckar: Rechtsrheinische Gebiete der Kurpflaz. Sonderveroeffentlichung des Stadtarchivs Mannheim, 4. Stuttgart, Germany: Konrad Theiss, 1983.
  • Hall, Charles M. Pal-Index: A Surname Index of Eighteenth-Century Immigrants. Salt Lake City: Global Research Systems, 1979.
  • Hamburg Emigration Lists - a database of personal data of 5 million people (Russian, German, Jewish, Austrian) who emigrated via Hamburg, Germany from 1850 to 1934; 80% of whom were traveling to the United States.
  • Haury, David A. Index to Mennonite immigrants on United States passenger lists, 1872-1904 / compiled and edited by David A. Haury. North Newton, Kan. : Mennonite Library and Archives, 1986. Ship lists of Mennonite immigrants, with a name index.
  • Hocker, Edward W. Genealogical Data Relating to the German Settlers of Pennsylvania and Adjacent Territory.  1935 Reprint. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981.
  • Hoeke-Nishimoto, Sonja. "Hamburg Police Records." German Genealogical Digest. 1990, Vol. 6, No. 1, 9-16 and No. 2, 46-52.
  • Holding Libraries for Germans to America : Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports 1850-1897, 1840s
  • Humphrey, John I. "Researching German Ancestors: Part II - Emigration Records."  N.G.S. Newsmagazine. May/June 2001, 138-140.
  • The Immigrant Ancestors Project, sponsored by the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University, uses emigration registers to locate information about the birthplaces of immigrants in their native countries, which is not found in the port registers and naturalization documents in the destination countries. Volunteers working with scholars and researchers at Brigham Young University are creating a database of millions of immigrants based on these emigration registers
  • Immigrant Arrivals: A Guide to Published Resources, compiled by Virginia Steele Wood. An online guide to resources in the Library of Congress; includes sections on general works, passenger lists, ships, the immigration experience, immigrants as new arrivals, personal narratives & correspondence, internet resources, and LC subject headings.
  • Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild - Over 3,800 ships passenger lists have been transcribed, passenger and crew names and ship name, departure point etc from all lists can be searched here.

  • Immigration Explorer -- An interactive map of the United States from the New York Times showing where various foreign-born groups settled.

  • inGeneas Database. The inGeneas Database contains passenger list records for immigrants arriving at Canadian ports between 1748 and 1873.

  • Jones, Henry Z. More Palatine Families: Some Immigrants to the Middle Colonies, 1717-1776, and Their European Origins, Plus New Discoveries on German Families Who Arrived in Colonial New York in 1710. Universal City, California: H.Z. Jones, 1991.
  • Jones, Henry Z. and Lewis Bunker Rohrbach. Even More Palatine Families: 18th Century Immigrants to the American Colonies and their German, Swiss and Austrian Origins. Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 2002.

  • Jones, Henry Z. The Palatine Families of New York: A Study of German Immigrants Who Arrived in New York in 1710. Universal City, California: H.Z. Jones, 1985.
  • Krebs, Friedrich. Emigrants from the Palatinate to the American Colonies in the 18th Century. Pennsylvania German Society Special Study, 1. Norristown, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania German Society, 1953.
  • Krewson, Margrit B. (Margrit Beran). Immigrants from the German-speaking countries of Europe : a selective bibliography. Washington, D.C. : Library of Congress, 1991.
  • Lancour, Harold.  A Bibliography of Ship Passenger Lists, 1538-1825; Being a Guide to Published Lists of Early Immigrants to North America. 3rd edition. New York: New York Public Library, 1963.
  • Levan, Russel George. Early Immigrants from Germany and Switzerland to Eastern Pennsylvania. Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1990.
  • Link to Your Roots. A searchable database from the Hamburg States Archives containing the names of passengers who left from the port of Hamburg. Although records exist for the years 1850 to 1934, only the lists from 1890 to 1908 can be searched online at the present time. A search produces the following information: name, state of origin, marital status, date of birth, and destination. To obtain more information, a user must order the information for a fee through the web site.
  • Macco, Herman Friedrich, compiler. Swiss Emigrants to the Palatinate and to American 1650-1800, and Huguenots in the Palatinate and Germany. 6 volumes in typescript. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1954.
  • Michael Palmer's Immigration page  A comprehensive bibliography.
  • Minert, Roger P., Kathryn Boeckel, and Caren Winters. Germans to America and the Hamburg Passenger Lists: Coordinated Schedules. Westminster, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2005. Index linking Germans to America passenger lists, the Hamburg passenger lists, and the Family History Library microfilm.
  • Odessa - a German-Russian Genealogical Library - Search an extensive database (over 240 megabytes) of documents relating to the emigration of Germans from Russia including US census records 1795-1814, Bessarabian records, German-Russians interred in US cemeteries, St Petersburg archives, village histories and war documents.
  • Palatines Arriving on Ships from Germany to U.S.A. Lists of Palatines, German & Swiss Refugees from German Palatinate on Ships Arriving in USA
  • Palatine German Immigrant Ships to Philadelphia 1727-1808.
  • The Palatine Project.  The Palatine Project is an attempt using sources from German speaking countries as well as early colonial American sources to reconstruct the passenger lists of Germans who came to America in the first large wave of emigration in the 18th century.
  • Palatines to America. Is a genealogical society dedicated to the study of ancestors from all German speaking lands, not just the Palatinate. They take their name from the fact that some of the earliest German-speaking immigrants to the American colonies came from a region in present-day Germany known as the Palatinate and were called Palatines. They maintain a rapidly growing library that is available to all who are researching German ancestry. They also publish a quarterly journal and other publications on German genealogical research.
  • Passenger lists, Holland-America Line, 1900-1940 [microform] / Gemeentelijke Archiefdienst Rotterdam. Lisse, The Netherlands : MMF Publications, 1995. 1053 microfiches. In Dutch with accompanying guide in English. Accompanied by a printed guide, entitled: Guide & concordances to Passenger lists of the Holland-America Line, 19001940, on microfiche (39 p. ; 30 cm.)  The collection is in two series: the passenger lists on 781 fiches; annual indexes of names (not in strict alphabetical order) on 272 fiches.
  • Passenger Lists Compiled by the Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild (ISTG). The Guild began its work in 1998 and is transcribing ship passenger lists that are posted to its web site.
  • Pennsylvania Passenger Lists. Passenger lists from 1683-1726, 1809-1819 do not exist and are being reconstructed on this site. Wilhelmius and Rieger estimated in 1730/1731 that there were about 15,000 German and Swiss immigrants in Pennsylvania by that time.
  • Pier 21 - Canada's Historic Soul. Visitors may search electronically for the basic arrival information of anyone who immigrated through a Canadian port between 1925 and 1935. Immigration records of individuals who entered Canada through Quebec City, Montreal, Halifax and Saint John between 1925 and 1935 may be accessed on microfilm. No online research.
  • Rupp, I. Daniel. A Collection of Upwards of 30,000 Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French & other Immigrants in PA from 1727 to 1776. Originally published in 1876. Reprinted with index by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1975.
  • Schenk, Trudy and Ruth Froelke. The Wuerttemburg Emigration Index. 5 volumes. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1986-1988.
  • Sheppard, Walter Lee Jr. Passengers and Ships Prior to 1684. Publications of the Welcome Society of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1970.
  • Smith, Clifford Neal. Emigrants from the Principality of Hessen-Hanau, Germany, 1741-1767. McNeel, Arizona: Westland Publicaitons, 1979.
  • Smith, Clifford Neal. From Bremen to America in 1850 : fourteen rare emigrant ship lists / Clifford Neal Smith. McNeal, Ariz. : Westland Publications, 1987.(German-American genealogical research monograph, ISSN 0094-7806 ; no. 22) The ship lists were originally published in the weekly newspaper Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung; contains a surname index.
  • Smith Clifford Neal. German revolutionists of 1848 : among whom many immigrants to America / Clifford Neal Smith. McNeal, Ariz. : Westland Publications, 1985. 4 v. (ii, 153 p.) ;(German-American genealogical research monograph, ISSN 0094-7806 ; no. 21, pts. 1-4) Contents: pt. 1. Surnames A through F – pt. 2. Surnames G through K – pt. 3. Surnames L through R – pt. 4. Surnames S through Z. Alphabetical list of names, based upon police records in the Generallandesarchiv in Karlsruhe, Baden. Places of origin (not all in Baden) are given.
  • Smith, Clifford Neal. Reconstructed passenger lists for 1850 : Hamburg to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the United States / Clifford Neal Smith. McNeal, Ariz. : Westland Publications, 1980-1981. 4 v. (German and central European emigration, ISSN 0195-735X ; monograph no. 1, pt. 1-4) Includes indexes. Contents: pt. 1. Passenger lists, 1 through 25 – pt. 2. Passenger lists, 26 through 42 – pt. 3. Passenger lists, 43 through 60 – pt. 4. Supplemental notes on emigrants' places of origin. Each volume contains a surname index.
  • The Shipping List: Ship Wrecks. Listing of ship wrecks in the 1800s.
  • Strassburger, R. B. & W. J. Hinke. Pennsylvania German Pioneers. 3 volumes. Pennsylvania Historical Society, 1934. Reprinted by Picton Press. Transcription of the ships' lists of those who entered through the port of Philadelphia. Includes the date of arrival, the age of any male aged 16 or over, his companions on the ship, and his signature.
  • Tepper, Michael, editor. Emigrants to Pennsylvania, 1641-1819: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists from the "Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography" (1877-1934). Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979.
  • Tepper, Michael, editor. Immigrants to the Middle Colonies: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists and Associated Data from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978.
  • Tepper, Michael, editor. New World Immigrants: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists and Associate Data from Periodical Literature. 2 volumes. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979.
  • Wellauer, Maralyn A. German immigration to America in the nineteenth century : a genealogist's guide. Milwaukee, Wis. : Roots International, c1985. A handbook on German immigration to America during the nineteenth century.
  • Wittke, Carl. Refugees of Revolution: The German Forty-Eighters in America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, Press, 1952. Examines German immigration to the U.S. following the failed 1848 revolution in Germany.
  • Yoder, Don.  Pennsylvania German Immigrants (1709-1786) Lists Consolidated from Yearbooks of the Pennsylvania German Folklore Society. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1980.
  • Yoder, Don, editor. Rhineland Emigrants: Lists of German Settlers in Colonial America. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981.

German Lists

Hamburg (1850-1914, with the exception of January-June 1853).

  • The original lists (a collection of 555 large volumes dating from 1850 to 1934 with over 5 million names) are deposited and house in a climate controlled vault in the Hamburg State Archive [Staatsarchiv Hamburg]. Their age and condition prevent their use by the public. However, microfilm copies of the lists (486 reels of film) and of a variety of contemporary manuscript indexes are deposited in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (which can be consulted either at the Family History Library itself or at any LDS (Mormon) Family History Center outside Germany (restrictions imposed by the Staatsarchiv Hamburg forbid lending these microfilms to any Family History Center within Germany).
  • The extract Direct and Indirect Lists for 1850-1855 do not require separate indexes, as they are arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the surname of the head of household. Separate indexes for both the Direct (the Direct Index) and Indirect Lists (the Indirect Index) exist from 1855 through 1910; for the period 1911-1914 and 1920-1934 there is a single index for both series. The indexes for 1855-1914 are arranged by the first letter of surname of the head of household, then chronologically by the date the vessel left Hamburg; the indexes for 1920-1934 are in strict alphabetical order.
  • The late Hamburg genealogist Karl Werner Klüber compiled a card index to the Direct Lists for 1850-1871, and to the Indirect Lists for 1854-1867. This index is deposited in the Staatsarchiv Hamburg, ABC-Straße 19, D-20354 Hamburg, which will search this index for a fee. The Family History Library has a copy of this index on 46 microfilm reels.  On the original cards, he used different colored pens to make the years of emigration. The colors were not captured by the microfilm.
  • A 15-year index, covering the Direct Lists for 1856-1871, was compiled on typed cards by LDS volunteers in 1969. It is easy to use, but incomplete.
  • Eric and Rosemary Kopittke of the Queensland (Australia) Family History Society have written several books variously titled Emigrants from Hamburg to Australia or Australasia, various years. These cover ships bound from Hamburg to ports in Australia and New Zealand, and include transcripts of newspaper accounts and passenger lists.
  • "Link to Your Roots." The State of Hamburg, with the support of corporate sponsors, is digitizing every name on the Hamburg Passenger List and is making it available on the Internet. The project is directed by Paul Flamme, and is housed directly in the Hamburg State Archives. The project employs 28 transcribers who work directly from the original volumes. The transcribers work with a library of lexicons and historical gazetteers at their side to aid in identifying the points of origin for the emigrants. There is a charge for the complete record of an individual.
  • Smith, Clifford Neal. Reconstructed Passenger Lists for 1850: Hamburg to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the United States, German and Central European Research Monograph No. 1 (4 parts; Arizona: Westland Publications, 1980-1981). 60 passenger lists.
  • Smith, Clifford Neal. Reconstructed Passenger Lists for 1851 Via Hamburg: Emigrants from Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia and Switzerland to Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and the United States, and Venezuela, German and Central European Research Monography No. 2 (5 parts in 6); Arizona: Westland Publications, 1986-1987). 85 passenger lists.
  • Sonja Höke-Nishimoto and Daniel M. Schlyter edited an alphabetical index of the Direct and Indirect Lists for 1872 only. This index is available from the Family History Library (film 1183696 Items 3-6).
  • Hamburg Emigration Lists - a database of personal data of 5 million people (Russian, German, Jewish, Austrian) who emigrated via Hamburg, Germany from 1850 to 1934; 80% of whom were traveling to the United States.
  • Passenger Lists, Hamburg 1850-1934. Ocean ship passenger lists.
  • Additional records in the Staatsarchiv Hamburg and also available on microfilm through the Family History Library on film 1732431, include 3 volumes listing the ships that sailed from Hamburg carrying emigrants, 1850-1914; 2 volumes listing people going overseas on merchant (as distinct from emigration) vessels, 1871-1887; lists of returning Jewish emigrants, 1905-1907; lists of prospective emigrants denied emigration due to disease or other causes, 1906-1913; lists of passengers coming to Hamburg with departure dates, 31 Dec 1913-12 Aug 1914; lists of emigrants from Kowno (Kaunas) 1897-1899; and lists of Jewish orphans (pogrom victims) from Russia, 1906.
  • Another source that may be of use are the Reisepaß-Protokolle, 1851-1929, passport documents maintained by the Hamburg Allgemeines Polizeiliches Meldeamt, and held by the Staatsarchiv Hamburg, also available through the Family History Library.


The majority of emigrants from Germany, especially the Pomeranians, sailed not from Hamburg but from Bremen. Bremen began keeping passenger lists in 1832. These lists no longer exist. In 1875, because of a shortage of space, the government authorized the destruction of the lists for 1832 to 1872, and instituted a policy, in effect until 1909, of preserving only the lists for the current and two most recent years. In 1931 the surviving lists, from 1907 onwards, were deposited with the Statisches Landesamt Bremen, where they were destroyed during a bombing raid on the city on 6 October 1944. The archives of the Bremen Chamber of Commerce [Handelskammer] contain what appears to be a complete set of duplicate passenger lists for the years 1922-1939.

  • "Reconstruction" of Bremen lists from advertisements by shipping agents (signatures of passengers), or reports of disasters at sea of of mistreatment of apssengers on board emigration ships, all published in the emigration newspaper, Allgemeine Auswanderungszeitung [AA]; Ein Bote zwischen der alten und neuen Welt (Jg. 1-25; Rudolstadt 1846/47-1871), have been published as follows:
    • Smith, Clifford N., From Bremen to America in 1850: Fourteen Rare Emigrant Ship Lists, German-American Genealogical Research Monographs, 22 (Arizona, 1987).
    • Smith, Clifford N., Passenger Lists (and Fragments Thereof) from Hamburg and Bremen to Australia and the United States, 1846-1849, German-American Genealogical Research Monograph, 23 (Arizona, 1988). Extracted from AA, Jg. 1-3; include 3 additional "notes of appreciation" from Jg. 4 (1850) which pertain to ship voyages made in 1849.
    • Smith, Clifford N., Gold! German Transcontinental Travelers to California 1849-1851, German-American Genealogical Research Monographs, 24 (Arizona, 1988). 300-odd partial ship lists extracted from AA, Jg. 3-5 (1849-1851).
  • Bremen (Germany) - New York Passenger Lists  - Search the Bremen Chamber of Commerce's database of passenger lists 1920-1939, of over 120,000 passengers.
  • Zimmerman, Gary J. and Marion Wolfert. German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, with Places of Origin. Vol. 1, 1847-1854; Vol. 2, 1855-1862; Vol. 3, 1868-1871. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993. Not all Bremen passages for these years are included -- rather, only those for whom a specific place of origin is given. About 35,000 immigrants are listed in each of the three volumes.


  • Printed and handwritten ship passenger lists compiled by the various shipping companies that transported emigrants to America survive among the record groups Pommersches Polizeipräsidium and Schifffahrisdirektion Stettin in the Vorpommersches Landesarchiv, Martin-Andersen-Nex;ouml;-Platz 1, D-17489 Greifswald, Germany. The lists cover the years 1869-1892, and contain about 500-800 passengers per year. Friedrich Wollmershäuser, a private researcher, (Herrengasse 8-10, D-89610 Oberdischingen, Germany) has obtained copies of these passenger lists, and intends to publish them.


  • Antwerp, Belgium. The Family History Library is filming emigration records and hotel registers that include Germans, especially from the Rhineland and the aouthwestern part of Germany, with towns of origin -- cataloged under "Belgium, Antwerpen, Antwerpen -- Emigration-Immigration.
  • Auswandererdatei des Stadtarchivs Koblenz
  • Emigration Records of the Stadtarchiv Koblenz (English version)
  • Forschungsstelle Niedersächsische Auswanderer in den USA (NAUSA) (Uni Oldenburg)
  • Le Havre, France. Only crew lists exist. In the Family History Library catalog, see: Germany, Elsass-Lothringen -- Emigration-Immigration; France, Alsace-Lorraine -- Emigration-Immigration; and France, Bas-Rhin (or Haut-Rhin or Moselle) -- Emigration-Immigration. A set of films, "Registres des emigres, 1817-1866," an alphabetical card index listing people who traveled through France on their way to their enw residences abroad (FHL films 1125002 through 1125007).
  • Other German ports were primarily located along the eastern sea board and included Stettin, Gdansk (Danzig), Libau, Memel, and Riga. Germans also used Scandinavian ports (especially Copenhagen).
  • Research Center Lower Saxons in the USA (University of Oldenburg, Germany)

American Lists

For the authoritative account of American passenger arrival lists, see: Tepper, Michael. American Passenger Arrival Records (2nd ed., Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993). Published Lists (by Port of Entry):

All Ports.

  • Passenger Arrivals 1819-1820; A transcript of the list of passengers who arrived in the United States from the 1st October, 1819, to the 30th September, 1820; with an added index, originally published as Letter from the Secretary of State, with A transcript of the list of passengers who arrived in the United States from the 1st October, 1819, to the 30th September, 1820 (Washington: Gales & Seaton, 1821; reprinted Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield Co., 1991).
  • [Baltimore,Boston, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia] Glazier, Ira A. and P. William Filby, ed., Germans to America; Lists of Passengers Arriving at U.S. Ports, vols. 1ff. (Wilmington, Delaware: Scholarly Resources, Inc., 1988ff.). The series indexes passenger arrival lists from US ports, giving names, ages, occupations, and sometimes places of origin for many German immigrants, grouped by families. It also lists the ship, ports, and the date of the passenger ship list. The quality of the transcription varies, and because of its inclusion criteria, it is to be considered an incomplete index to German passengers, but it still can be quite useful. Check the original passenger lists also.
    List of volumes and dates (vol. 1- /1850 - )
    List of known holding libraries.
  • Addenda for 1850-1855 are published in The German Connection by the German Research Association.


  • Tepper, Michael H., ed. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Baltimore, 1820-1834; From Customs Passenger Lists (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1982).

Galveston, Texas

  • Galveston County Genealogical Society. Ships Passenger Lists, Port of Galveston, Texas, 1846-1871 (Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1984).

New York

  • Boyer Ship Passenger Lists. New York & New Jersey. 1600-1825.  7,700 names.
  • Castle Garden New York Port of entry prior to 1892
  • Ellis Island New York Port of entry 1892-1954
  •  Jones Jr, Henry Z.  Palatine Families of New York. 2 Volumes. Includes 16,600 German Immigrants
     arriving in New York in 1710.
  • Steuart, Bradley W., ed. Passenger Ships Arriving in New York Harbor, Vol. 1 (1820-1850) (Bountiful, Utah: Precision Indexing, 1991).
  • Tolzman, D. H. (editor).  The first Germans in America with a biographical directory of New York.
     Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc.
  • Wolfert, M. German Immigrants: lists of passengers bound from Bremen to New York, 1868-1871, with places of origin.  Previous volumes (1, 2, 3) cover 1847-1867. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.
  • Zimmerman, Gary J. and Marion Wolfert, ed. German Immigrants: Lists of Passengers Bound from Bremen to New York, ...; With Places of Origin (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co.): (1) 1847-1854 (1985); (2) 1855-1862 (1986); (3) 1863-1867 (1988); (4) 1868-1871 (1992).


  • Boyer Ship Passenger Lists. Pennsylvania & Delaware. 1641-1825.  6,500 names.
  •  Rupp,  I. D.  The Collection of upwards of 30,000 names of immigrants to Pennsylvania etc.
     Book has been published in German and English. 1898. Reprints available.
  •  Strassburger, R. B. & Hinke, W. J.  Pennsylvania German Pioneers. 2 Volumes. Arrivals at port of Philadelphia
     1727-1808. 38,500 names.  Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co.
  • Tepper, Michael H., ed. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, 1800-1819; The Philadelphia "Baggage Lists" (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986).

Other Resources

  • Boyer Ship Passenger Lists. National & New England. 1600-1825.  6,500 names
  • Boyer Ship Passenger Lists. The South. 1538-1825.  8,700 names.
  • "By Hook or by Crook: How Wondrous, How Inventive Were the Schemes Devised to Take Advantage of Naive Entering Immigrants."  Der Blumenbaum, 24, 3 (January, February, March 2007), 110-113.
  • Colletta, John Philip. They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993.
  • Filby, P. William, and Mary K. Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index: A Guide to Published Arrival Records of about 5000,000 Passengers Who Came to the United States and Canada in the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries. 1st edition. 3 vol. plus annual supplements. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981.
  • Filby, P. William, ed., Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900: Being a Guide to Published Lists of Arrivals in the United States and Canada. Detroit: Gale Research Corp., 1981.
  • Hall, Charles M. The Atlantic Bridge to Germany. 10 volumes. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers.
  • Haller, Charles R. Across the Atlantic and Beyond: The Migration of German and Swiss Immigrants to America. Heritage Books, 1993.
  •  Tolzman, D. H. (editor) German immigration to America: the first wave. Reprints of books by
     Diffenderffer and H. E. Jacobs. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc
  • US Passport applications, 1795-1924, a catalog of microfilms of records held by the National Archives.
  • Whitehead, John Frederick and Johann Carl Büttner, with Susan E. Klepp and Anne Pfaelzer de Ortiz, editors. Souls for Sale: Two German Redemptioners Come to Revolutionary America: The Life Stories of John Federick Whitehead and Johann Carl Büttner. University Park, Pennsylvania: State University Press, 2006. Story of two German adolescents, recruited by labor contractors, who were sold to masters in America.