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Indexes | Passenger Lists | Crew Lists | Other Immigration-Related Records

In 1819, Congress passed an act which, among other things, required masters of ships to file with the district collector of customs a manifest (or list) of all passengers who embarked from a foreign port. These lists were to include the name of each passenger; his or her age, sex, and occupation; the country to which he or she belonged; the country where the passenger intended to live, and a list of deaths that occurred during the voyage. This law went into effect on January 1, 1820. Thus, with few exceptions, passenger arrival lists kept by the federal government begin in 1820. The 1820 law also required the collector to submit a quarterly abstract (copies of these passenger lists) to the Secretary of State (after 1874, these reports contained statistical data only).

Passenger lists may include all or some of the following information: name of passenger, gender, age, country of origin, port of departure, date of arrival in the U.S., name of ship. Generally, the passenger’s place of residence in his or her country of origin is not given.

 Passenger arrival records for New Orleans have been digitized and are available (with indexing) at www.ancestry.com and at Ancestry Library Edition, accessible at all NOPL facilities.


Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Ports (Excluding New York), 1820-1874. [Includes New Orleans, 1820-1850]
Indexes the M259 and M575 series below. The index is not complete for the M575 series and may not be complete for the M259 series. mf M334

  There is a gap in indexing to New Orleans passenger arrivals for 1851-1852. Volunteers working with the Louisiana State Archives, however, are indexing the gap. Their database [in progress] can be found online at www.sos.louisiana.gov/tabid/248/Default.aspx.

Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans Before 1900 [Covers 1853-1899]
Indexes the M259 series below. mf T527

Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1900-1952.
Indexes the T905 series below. mf T618

Note: These lists do not cover civilian ships chartered by the United States to bring displaced persons and/or G.I. dependents to the United States, which docked at the Port of Embarkation ca. 1945-1950’s.


Passenger Lists

Passenger Lists Taken from Manifests of the Customs Service, Port of New Orleans, 1813-1866.
The records are compilations of passenger data (completed in 1940) as part of the Survey of Federal Archives conducted by the Works Progress Administration from U.S. Customs Service passenger manifests stored in the Custom House in New Orleans. The lists are not complete, but include only those found in the Custom House at the time. In theory, the lists from 1820 on should duplicate information found in the M259 series; however, some lists were probably lost between the time when the WPA made the transcripts and their microfilming years later. These records should be consulted if names cannot be found in the M259 series. The records are at least partially indexed. mf LN57

Note: An additional year of WPA transcripts (for 1867) can be found on mf LN65 (labeled “Wreck Reports”). This roll also includes transcripts for 1864-1866, but it is not clear whether these are copies of those found in LN57. The passenger lists are interspersed between pages of transcriptions of wreck reports. Indexing is included. (Using this roll of film will require patience on the part of the researcher, as its organization is very puzzling.)

State Department Transcripts of Passenger Lists, ca. October 1819-ca. December 1832. [Includes New Orleans, 1820-1827]
Lists compiled from submissions from Collectors of Customs in various Eastern and Gulf ports to the U.S. Customs Service. Unlike M575 below, this series includes the Port of New York. mf T1219

Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1820-1902.
Passenger lists for the Port of New Orleans, arranged chronologically. mf M259

Quarterly Abstracts of Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1820-1875.
Copies of passenger lists submitted quarterly to the U.S. Secretary of State by the Collector of Customs in New Orleans. This series may include some lists missing from the M259 series above. mf M272

Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts..., 1820- 1873. [Excludes New Orleans]
Passenger lists or abstracts of passenger lists of vessels arriving at 63 ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and at 2 ports on the Great Lakes. Gulf ports represented include Galveston (1846-1871), Mobile (1832-1852), and Key West (1839-1968). mf M575

Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, LA, 1903-1945.
Passenger lists for the port of New Orleans from 1903 to 1945, arranged by date of arrival. The records give all or some of the following: name, age, gender, marital status, whether able to read and write, nationality, last place of residence, seaport for landing in the U.S., final destination in the U.S., whether having a ticket to final destination, by whom the ticket was paid, whether in possession of money and how much, whether the passenger has been in the U.S. before, whether the passenger is going to a relative and the relative’s name and address, whether the passenger has been in prison or an almshouse, whether a polygamist, whether under contract to labor in the U.S., and the condition of health. (Note: the microfilm is labeled “Citizens and Aliens Manifests of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1903-1945.”) mf T905


Crew Lists

Crew Lists, 1805-1824.
Transcriptions compiled by the Works Progress Administration of the sworn documents made out to the U.S. Bureau of the Customs by masters of vessels entering and leaving the Port of New Orleans. mf LN59

Note: Transcriptions of additional crew lists (1803-1808) can be found on mf LN65 (labeled “Wreck Reports”). It is unclear whether the 1805-1808 lists are copies of those on mf LN59. Some of the lists are interspersed between pages of passenger arrivals. (Using this roll of film will require patience on the part of the researcher, as its organization is very puzzling.)

Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, 1910-1945. mf T939


Other Immigration-Related Records

New Orleans (La.) Office of the Mayor. Passenger Lists of Ships Arriving at New Orleans, 1822.     Finding Aid
Individual manuscript lists of incoming passengers compiled by ship masters. These lists identify the name, port of origin, and date of arrival of each ship, along with the master's name and signature. Generally, the lists give the name, age, place of birth, occupation, place last from, nation owing allegiance to, and remarks (sometimes referring to means of subsistence) of each passenger. Many of the lists also include a physical description of each passenger, including height and complexion. Lists written in foreign languages generally are accompanied by manuscript English translations, possibly made at a later date by archives workers. At least some of the individual passenger lists in this series also appear in the Customs lists now held by the National Archives. This series also includes, however, lists from ships arriving from other U.S. ports, whereas the National Archives lists represent vessels arriving only from foreign ports. mf AA822

New Orleans Passenger Lists, 1851. (MS-151)
Twelve folders of manuscript lists of passengers arriving at the port of New Orleans during April and May of 1851. Other copies of most of these lists exist in the passenger list records filmed by the National Archives. Lists for two vessels are not included on those microfilms: Schooner Union, from San Juan de Nicaragua (April 20, 1851) and Bark Cora, from Richmond (May 9, 1851). These lists may have been deposited in the Mayor's Office in accordance with some unidentified local ordinance. One of them indeed is marked "Mayor's Office." mf LM650 1854 or mf AA253 1881

Proofs of Citizenship used to Apply for Seamen’s Protection Certificates for the Port of New Orleans, Louisiana, 1800, 1802, 1804-1807, 1890-1812, 1814-1816, 1818-1819, 1821, 1850-1851, 1855, 1857.
Certificates issued by the Collector of Customs to merchant seamen and masters of merchant vessels engaged in foreign trade. These certificates were a direct response to the detention and impressments of American seamen by officials of the government of Great Britain. Generally, the records give name, age, place of birth, place of residence at time of issuance, height, hair and eye color, and complexion. mf M1826

Wreck Reports Taken from the U.S. Bureau of the Customs Files, 1873-1924.
Transcripts compiled by the Works Progress Administration from records originally housed in the Custom House in New Orleans. The records give name of vessel, master, owner, the vessels’ planned route “from and to,” date and time of the wreck, location of the wreck, and remarks (briefly describing what happened to the vessel, passengers, cargo, etc.) Names of passengers aboard the vessel are not given. mf LN65

Note: The organization of this roll of microfilm is chaotic. Apparently, pages of transcriptions of wreck reports were bound into a volume containing passenger arrivals and crew lists. Thus, pages of the wreck reports are interspersed between pages of those other records. Patience is advised.