Starting in 1820, ships’ passenger lists were collected by U.S. Customs officials at all ports of entry. Well into the 1890s, these lists–Customs Passenger Lists–furnish proof of the arrival in the United States of nearly twenty million persons. With the exception of federal census records, they are the largest and most continuous body of records of the entire century. Listing each passenger by name, age, sex, occupation, the country he intended to inhabit, the name of his ship, his port of embarkation, and the date of his arrival, the lists were kept under the authority of the collectors of customs at the various ports of entry, later deposited with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and finally given to the National Archives, where they were sorted and arranged by port, date, and ship, and then microfilmed.
The microfilm version of the Customs Passenger Lists for the port of New York–by far the busiest port of entry in the U.S.–consists of both original passenger lists and copies of those lists, depending on which list was most suitable for microfilming. This compilation by Mrs. Bentley, a sequel to her recent book covering the period 1820-1829, is a direct transcription of the original microfilmed lists (National Archives Microfilm #237) for the port of New York for the period 1830 through 1832.
In this one encyclopedic volume are the names–in alphabetical order–of 65,000 passengers with their age, sex, occupation, place of origin, etc., and the names of the 1,700 ships that brought them to New York. Also included is a separate list of ships with the names of ship masters, ports of embarkation, and dates of arrival.Until now these passenger lists have been virtually inaccessible, available only through a somewhat incomplete card index maintained by the National Archives. Along with the first volume in this series, we now have complete coverage of passengers arriving at the port of New York for the entire period from 1820 through 1832!