Information about Ships and Passenger Lists

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Ship passenger lists appear in two basic types:

  • Embarkation lists and
  • Arrival lists

German emigrants after 1850 typically embarked in Hamburg or Bremen; before the 1830s the usual ports were Le Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. The Bremen passenger lists of 1832-1872 were destroyed in 1875 by governmental decree owing to want of storage space. Thereafter only the current and two previous years were kept, until the destruction ceased in 1907. The lists of 1906-1931 were placed in the Statistisches Landesamt Bremen, which was bombed on 6 October 1944, resulting in the destruction of the remaining Bremen lists. An incomplete name index of the lists for 1904-1914 is held at the Bundesarchiv Koblenz, with microfilms available via your local LDS FHC. The Bremen Handelskammer archives has an apparently complete duplicate of the lists for 1920-1923,1925-1939 and a few lists back to 1834.

The Hamburg embarkation lists 1850-1934 are available on microfilm via your local LDS FHC. They are indexed and usually indicate the last residence of the emigrant, an important datum for researchers.

A few Bremen and Hamburg embarkation lists otherwise unavailable were published in the Allgemeine Auswanderungs-Zeitung (1847-1871, Rudolstadt). Some of these have been republished by Clifford Neal Smith and others.

Arrival lists are available for many American ports, but are not quite as useful as the embarkation lists in determining place of last residence. The US arrival lists are available at the US National Archives, many large research and genealogical libraries, and through your local LDS FHC. Many of the New York City arrival lists in the period 1892-1924 are available online at http://www.ellisislandrecords.org/ The arrival lists are also partially indexed in the book series Germans to America.

More sources for Ship- and Passengerlists:

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