Frequently Asked Questions

What is a ship's manifest and why is it important to preserve this data?

A manifest is the list of passengers aboard each ship. These documents also recorded other information about each passenger including occupation, age, sex, etc. It is important to preserve these documents as they are the only records of the immigrants that arrived at Castle Garden.

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How do I discover a trend or cross reference data?

SEARCH allows you to cross reference subjects in context according to many different variables.

How can I get a copy of an original ship manifest?

The National Archives has custody of the passenger arrival lists into the Port of New York. These are part of the Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS] (Record Group 85).

Original nineteenth century passenger arrival lists for the Port of New York are part of the holdings at NARA's Northeast Region, New York Regional facility. These records can be searched in the Regional Reference Room via a database listing the ships, dates and ports of departure, and arrival dates in New York. For researchers wishing to view the nineteenth century passenger lists, the primary tool for researching remains microfilm publication, M-237, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897, which is available in the reference room.

Passenger Arrival Lists are only one source of genealogical information. The National Archive's knowledgeable staff can also assist with a multitude of other records related to genealogy.

Contact NARA for more information at: 1-866-840-1752 or e-mail:

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