6 Replies Latest reply on Nov 11, 2020 3:59 PM by Kevin Lacy

    Seeking Ship Manifest Original Dimensions


      I am working on a project, printing reproductions of the individual Passenger Ship Manifests documenting the arrival in the United States of my 7 immigrant ancestors. I have already downloaded the images of all of the manifests from both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org and am preparing to have the images of the documents professionally printed with high quality ink on acid-free paper to ensure longevity. I would like to print the documents at their original sizes.


      My question for this group is does anyone know or can anyone confirm what the original dimensions of the manifest pages were? This is important because I want to ensure that the images I print do not get skewed, vertically and/or horizontally. For each image, I have checked the entire microfilm from beginning to end in hopes of finding a reference ruler image but, unfortunately, none exists for any of them and the images from Ancestry.com do not contain any microfilm header information at all -- just the manifest images.


      The images I have are of various different forms from the following years:

      • 1882 (Single Folded Page)
      • 1884 (Single Page)
      • 1903 (Single Page)
      • 1906 (Single Page)
      • 1907 (Double Page)
      • 1910 (Double Page - Same form as 1913)
      • 1913 (Double Page - Same form as 1910)


      All Arrivals were into New York City (Castle Garden and Ellis Island). I would be happy to attach the images to this thread so you can see exactly what I'm dealing with. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

        • Re: Seeking Ship Manifest Original Dimensions
          m smith Wayfarer

          I cannot help with the earlier, single forms, but the double forms from 1907 on were 36 inches wide by 18 1/2 inches high.  That is the outside dimension of BOTH pages side by side in one big image.  They were big forms!


          Marian Smith

            • Re: Seeking Ship Manifest Original Dimensions

              Thank you for your reply, Marian.


              Do you have any reference documentation that can confirm the 36" x 18.5" dimension for the 1907 form or can you tell me how you know this for sure?


              Thank you


                • Re: Seeking Ship Manifest Original Dimensions
                  m smith Wayfarer

                  I found the dimensions in an article I wrote a long time ago for PROLOGUE, “The Creation and Destruction of Ellis Island Immigration Manifests,” which I found online here.  Sorry the link may drop you in the middle of the article so you have to scroll up two pages to page 240.  The dimensions are at the bottom right of that page.  For that information I cite the Immigration laws (Act of February 5, 1917). Rules of May 1, 1917 - 2nd ed. - November 1917 (Washington, DC: GPO, 1917), Rule 2, Subdivision 1 (page 36).


                  The rules (regulations) require the manifest since 1893, but don’t think I found anything specific to the size or printing until 1917.  If things were normal I would go down to Archives I and request file 51940/004 from the INS Subject Correspondence (Entry 9), 1906-1957, NAID 559947, and read whatever is inside.  The subject of that file is “Manifests, forms for filing, ca. 1907.”



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              • Re: Seeking Ship Manifest Original Dimensions
                Cara Jensen Tracker

                Dear Mr. Lacy,


                Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


                We suggest that you contact the National Archives at Washington, DC (RDT1) via email at archives1reference@nara.gov to request the dimensions of the original passenger ship manifests that you seek. 


                Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


                We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


                [Information provided by Elizabeth Burnes, Subject Matter Expert]