Passenger Ship Manifests
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The following is quoted from Germans To America

Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

Lists of passengers on of vessels sailing from Hamburg between 1850 and 1934 survive in the Hamburg State Archive [Staatsarchiv], Bestand Auswandereramt. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has microfilm copies of these manifests, comprising 486 reels, 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).

Series. The passenger lists consist of two series:

  1. Direct Lists, containing the names of those passengers on vessels that sailed from Hamburg directly to an overseas port. The lists, bound into volumes, extend from 1850 to 1914 and from 1920 to 1934; there was no emigration through Hamburg during World War I. The lists for 1850-1855 are not, properly speaking, "lists", but rather extracts from lists, arranged alphabetically by the first letter of the surname of the head of household, then chronologically by the date the vessel left Hamburg. From 1855, the lists are arranged chronologically by the date the vessel left Hamburg. The volume of extracts for January-June 1853 has been missing since at least the 1920s.
  2. Indirect Lists, containing the names of those passengers who proceded from Hamburg to an intermediate British or other European port, where they boarded other vessels for their ultimate destination. The lists extend from 1854-1910; the names of such passengers for 1850-1854 and from 1911 onwards are included in the Direct Lists.



  1. Contemporary. 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.


  2. Modern.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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).
    4. 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.


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.


  Taken from Liberty State Park



Located in the upper New York Bay, a short distance from the New Jersey shore, Ellis Island was originally known to Native Americans as Kioshk, or Gull Island, named for the birds that were its only inhabitants. Consisting of nothing more than three acres of soft mud and clay, it was so low that it barely rose above the high-tide level of the bay.

The island was purchased by the colonist governors of Nieuw Amsterdam (later New York) from Native Americans on July 12, 1630, for "certain cargoes, or parcels of goods." The Dutch called it "Little Oyster Island," because of the delicious oysters found in its sands, and used it as a base for oystering. Because the island was not good for much other than its oysters – certainly it was not a prime building site – it changed independent ownership many times during the next century.

During the 1700s, the island was also irreverently known as Gibbet Island, due to the executions by hanging from a "gibbet," or gallows tree, of state criminals that took place there.

By means never officially determined, ownership passed into the hands of one Samuel Ellis about the time of the American Revolution. Ellis tried, unsuccessfully, to sell the island. A notice in the January 20, 1785, edition of Loudon’s New York Packet offered:

"To Be Sold By Samuel Ellis, no. 1 Greenwich street, at the north river near the Bear Market. That pleasant situated Island, called Oyster Island, lying in York Bay, near Powles’ Hook, together with all its improvements, which are considerable…."

Ellis still owned the island when he died in 1794. In his will he bequeathed it to the unborn child of his pregnant daughter, Catherine Westervelt, on two conditions: that the baby would be a boy, and that the child would be named after him. A son was born, but died in infancy. Title to the island was then disputed by other members of the family.

On April 21, 1794, the city formally deeded the only part of the island that was publicly owned, a narrow strip of mud between the water and the high-tide mark, to the state. (Samuel Ellis had actually drawn up a deed transferring ownership of his island to the state, but died before the deed could be completed.) On this narrow strip, considered and excellent defense for the harbor, construction of the first fort on Ellis Island was begun in fear of new attacks from the British. A few wooden buildings and thirteen 24-pound guns were ordered. As threats of war with Britain increased, the island was also used for training recruits. Amid all this military activity, the island was still privately owned property which was leased for the anticipated military fortifications.

To speed up the transfer of the property, New York State ceded its right of legal jurisdiction over the island to the federal government in February 1808. After several inspections by U.S. Army engineers, it was concluded that Ellis Island’s position in the harbor made it strategically invaluable to the safety of the nation, despite potential construction problems. But the disputed "rights of ownership" battle dragged on, and anything built above the high-tide mark would have to be torn down if the Ellis family members changed their minds about the lease agreement. Finally, a committee of New Yorkers was appointed to estimate the island’s value. The agreed figure was "no less than $10,000," a very large sum for apparently unusable land in the early 1800s. 

On June 8, 1808, the state of New York bought Ellis Island at the committee’s recommended price, and was immediately reimbursed when the federal government took possession of the island on the same day. At last, the task of building the installation that had been approved a year before could begin. After feverish and difficult preparations, Fort Gibson, a full-scale stronghold boasting 13 guns and a garrison of 182 gunners, was in place just before the outbreak of the War of 1812. But Fort Gibson wasn’t needed. As the years passed, the army and navy had little use for the island. It was used only to store ammunition until, in 1890, it was chosen by the House committee on Immigration as the site of the new immigrant Station for the Port of New York.


When Ellis Island was finally selected, $150,000 was authorized for improvements and buildings. To make the small, muddy island usable, every penny – and more – would be spent.

To begin, a channel 1,250 feet long and 200 feet wide had to be dredged to a depth of more than 12 feet. New docks had to be constructed. Landfill (from subway tunnels and from the Grand Central Station excavation) had to be brought in to create the "ground" for the new buildings. And because there wasn’t enough fresh water on the island, artesian wells and cisterns were dug.

The first buildings were constructed of Georgia pine with slate roofs. The main building was two stories high, about 400 feed long, and 150 feet wide. Four-story peaked towers marked the the corners of the building. There were baggage rooms on the ground level, with a great inspection hall above them.

Smaller buildings included a dormitory for detainees, a small hospital, a restaurant, kitchens, a baggage station, an electric plant, and a bathhouse. Some of the old Fort Gibson brick buildings were also converted into dormitories and office space.

Personnel included immigration officers, interpreters, clerks, guards, matrons, gatekeepers, watchmen, and cooks, as well as maintenance staff such as engineers, firemen, painters, and gardeners. The huge medical staff numbered scores of doctors, nurses, and orderlies. The number of employees varied with the number of incoming immigrants; the average staff ranged between 500 and 850 people. Often, as immigration increased, the need was greater than the number of employees available. Most workers commuted to the island by ferryboat from Manhattan.

When the Immigrant Station officially opened on January 1, 1892, its final cost had reached approximately $500,000, and it had become a city unto itself.


As superior as the new facilities were in comparison to the old accommodations, immigrants now faced stricter laws than ever before. A more comprehensive immigration law had been passed in the spring of 891. In addition to the previously established categories of "undesirables, inspectors now also screened for polygamists, people with prison records for crimes involving "moral turpitude." and all "persons suffering from a loathsome or contagious disease." The Contract Labor Law of 1885 was stiffened to exclude immigrants who were entering the country at the encouragement of American employers; it was even illegal for American employers to advertise.

While steamship companies had previously been held responsible for screening their passengers before leaving Europe, now they were also made responsible for returning deportees to their homeland and for the cost of their food and lodging while they were in detention here. Aliens who entered the country illegally or became "public charges within a year of their arrival due to some preexisting condition before they landed were to be deported. Additional amendments were added to the law in 1893.

The combination of this stricter law, a cholera scare in 1892, and the financial panic of 1893, followed by several years of economic depression, began to show its effect. The number of immigrants arriving in New York consistently decreased until the turn of the century. In 1892, Ellis Island welcomed 445,987 incoming foreigners; in contrast only 178,748 immigrants passed through the station in 1898.


Fortunately, there were only 200 people on Ellis Island the night of June 1`4, 1897. Shortly after midnight without warning, a disastrous fire broke out. The buildings of pine went up in flames as if they had been made of paper. The slate roof of the main building crashed in within an hour, and by dawn there was hardly a trace of the station left. Yet, not one life was lost.

Congress immediately appropriated $600,000 to replace the lost structures with fireproof buildings. During the two and a half years it took to rebuild Ellis Island, the processing of immigrants was again conducted at the old Barge office.


The Naming of Ellis Island

Ellis Island was no more than a lot of sand in the Hudson River, located just south of Manhattan, in the 17th century. The island was named Kioshk  (Gull Island) by the Mohegan Indians that lived on the nearby shores. In the 1630's a Dutch man, Michael Paauw, acquired the island and renamed it "Oyster Island"; the island was used as a place to shuck and eat oysters. In 1664, the British took possession of the area from the Dutch and renamed the island "Gull Island". Not long afterwards, the name of the island changed to "Gibbet Island", because men convicted of piracy were hanged there ("Gibbet" refers to the gallows tree).

In the 1770's the island was sold to Samuel Ellis, who developed it into a picnic spot. The U.S. War Department bought the island for 10,000 dollars in 1808. Defenses were built on this and other islands in the area in the years preceding the war of 1812. During the war, Fort Gibson was built on the island to house prisoners. Half a decade later, Ellis Island was used to as a munitions arsenal for the Union army during the Civil War. It was said that there were enough explosives stored on the island to cause significant damage to all of the neighboring areas.

After the Civil War, the island stood vacant until the government decided to replace the Immigration Station at Castle Garden. In 1890, Castle Island, located on the southern tip of Manhattan, was closed. Ellis Island was selected to be the new immigration processing center to facilitate the large number of immigrants coming to America. In 1892, Ellis Island opened and for the next fifty years more than twelve million people came through the island on their way into the United States.


During the American Revolution (1776) Ellis Island proprietor and New York merchant Samuel Ellis caters to local fisherman in his tavern located on the island.

The first federal immigration law, The Naturalization Act, is passed in 1790. This allows all white males living in the U.S. for two years to become citizens.


In 1808 Ellis Island is sold by the heirs of Samuel Ellis to the State of New York, but the name is kept. Later this year, the island is sold for $10,000 to the Federal Government.

There is little regulation of immigration when the first great wave begins in 1814. Nearly five million people will arrive from Northern and Western Europe in the next forty-five years


The potato blight strikes Ireland and the ensuing famine (1846-50) leads to the immigration of over 1 million Irish in the next decade. Concurrently, large numbers of Germans flee political and economic unrest.

Castle Garden, one of the first state run immigration depots, opens in New York City in 1855.


Rapid settlement of the West begins with the passing of The Homestead Act in 1862. Attracted by the opportunity to own land, more Europeans begin to immigrate.

Beginning in 1875, the United States forbids prostitutes and criminals from entering the country.

The Chinese Exclusion Act is passed in 1882. Restricted as well are "lunatics" and "idiots."


The control of immigration is turned over to the Federal Government, and $75,000 is appropriated for construction of the first Federal Immigration Station on Ellis Island. Artesian wells are dug as the size of Ellis Island is doubled to over six acres with landfill created from incoming ships' ballast and the subway tunnels in New York. During the time of this construction, the Barge Office at the Battery at the lower tip of Manhattan serves as the reception site for immigrants.


Ellis Island Opens

The first Ellis Island Immigration Station officially opens on January 1, 1892 as three large ships wait to land. 700 immigrants passed through Ellis Island that day, and nearly 450,000 followed through the course of that first year. Annie Moore, a 15 year old girl from County Cork, Ireland, is the first person admitted to the new immigration station. On that opening day, she received a greeting from officials and a $10.00 gold piece.


On June 15, 1897, with 200 immigrants on the island, a fire breaks out in one of the towers in the main building and the roof collapses. Though no one is killed, all immigration records dating back to 1840 and the Castle Garden era are destroyed. The Immigration Station is relocated to the Barge Office in Battery Park in Manhattan.


On December 17, 1900, the New York Tribune offered a scathing account of conditions at the Battery station including "grimy, gloomy...more suggestive of an enclosure for animals than a receiving station for prospective citizens of the United States." In response to this, New York architectural firm Boring & Tilton reconstructs the immigrant station and the new, fire proofed facility is officially opened in December as 2,251 people pass through on opening day.

To prevent a similar situation from occurring again, Commissioner of Immigration William Williams cleans house on Ellis Island in 1902 - he awards contracts based on merit and announces contracts will be revoked if any dishonesty is suspected. He imposes penalties for any violation of this rule and posts "Kindness and Consideration" signs as reminders.

By 1903 anarchists are denied admittance into the U.S.

On April 17, 1907, an all time daily high of 11,747 immigrants received is reached. Ellis Island experiences its highest number of immigrants received in a single year, with 1,004,756 arrivals. Federal law is passed excluding persons having physical and mental defects as well as children arriving without adults.


World War I begins in 1914 and immigration to the U.S. halts. Ellis Island experiences a sharp decline in receiving immigrants - from 178,416 in 1915 to 28,867 in 1918.

Starting in 1917, Ellis Island operates as a hospital for the Army, a way station for Navy personnel and a detention center for enemy aliens. The literacy test is introduced at this time, and stays on the books until 1952. Those over the age of 16 who cannot read 30 to 40 test words in their own language will not be admitted through Ellis Island. Asian immigrants are nearly all banned.

By 1918 the U.S. Army takes over most of Ellis Island and creates a make-shift way station to treat sick and wounded American servicemen.


The first Immigration Quota Law is passed by Congress in 1921 after booming post-war immigration results in 590,971 people passing through Ellis Island. Only 3% of an ethnic group living in the U.S. in 1910 will be allowed to enter the country in a year.

With the Immigration Act of 1924 restricting further immigration, the annual quota of immigrants reduces to 164,000. The buildings on Ellis Island begin to fall into neglect and abandonment. America is experiencing the end of mass immigration.

The National Origins Act is passed (1929) banning immigrants from East Asia. It also decreases the quota of European immigration to 2% of the figures recorded in the 1890 census.


The passage of the Internal Security Act of 1950 excludes arriving aliens with previous links to Communist and Fascist organizations. With this, Ellis Island experiences a brief resurgence in activity. Renovations and repairs are made in an effort to accommodate detainees, sometimes numbering 1,500 at a time.

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952, and a liberalized detention policy, results in the number of detainees on the island to plummet to less than 30.

Ellis Island is formally placed under the jurisdiction of the General Services Administration from 1954 to 1964, and all thirty-three structures on the island are officially closed in November, 1954.


After President Lyndon B. Johnson issues Proclamation 3656,Ellis Island falls under the jurisdiction of The National Park Service as part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument


Ellis Island opens to the public in 1976. During this year over 50,000 people visit.

Restoration of Ellis Island begins in 1984.

The $156 million dollar restoration of the Main Arrivals Building is completed and re-opened to the public in 1990. Since then millions of visitors have retraced the steps of their ancestors by experiencing Ellis Island.




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