1 Reply Latest reply on Jan 25, 2022 2:36 PM by Rebecca Collier

    Seeking information about death on an immigrant ship

    Barbara Counts Newbie

      How can I locate a woman’s death in childbirth on a ship to America from England or Scotland between 1798 and 1803

        • Re: Seeking information about death on an immigrant ship
          Rebecca Collier Guide

          Dear Ms. Counts,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          The information you seek may have been recorded on a ship passenger list. Until January 1, 1820, the United States federal government did not require captains or masters of vessels to present a passenger list to officials. As a general rule, NARA does not have passenger lists of vessels arriving before January 1, 1820.  One exception is the Port of  Philadelphia.


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Index to Vessels Entering the Port of Philadelphia, ca. 1800 - ca. 1880 (M360) in the Records of the U.S. Customs Service (Record Group 36) that consists of index cards which note the name of the ship, the ship type, the port of departure, and the month, day, and year of arrival at Philadelphia. M360 serves as an index to National Archives Microfilm Publication No. M425, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1800-1882 (108 rolls). For more information about the index, please contact the National Archives at Philadelphia (RE-PA) at philadelphia.archives@nara.gov.


          M425 has been digitized and made available online by Ancestry and FamilySearch. There may be a fee for using Ancestry. Instead, please check for access at your local library as many library systems subscribe to these sites, making them free for their patrons.


          Due to the continued impact of COVID-19, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RE-PA.  We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience as we balance mission-critical work and the safety of our staff during the pandemic. Please check NARA’s web page about COVID-19 updates for the latest information.


          To locate other passenger lists from 1538-1819, consult these books (among others) that are available in many libraries with genealogical collections:


          • Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900. 2d ed. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Co., 1988.

          • Lancour, Harold, comp. A Bibliography of Ship Passenger Lists, 1538-1825; Being a Guide to Published Lists of Early Immigrants to North America. 3d ed. New York: New York Public Library, 1978.

          • Wood, Virginia Steele. Immigrant Arrivals: A Guide to Published Sources. Revised. (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, Local History & Genealogy Reading Room, n.d.).


          For more information, please review NARA’s Passenger Arrival Records webpage.


          For information about passenger lists of ships sailing from Scotland or England to the United States, we suggest you contact The National Archives of the United Kingdom, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, United Kingdom.


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


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