Philadelphia Passenger Lists Quick Guide

1800-late June 1948 and December 1954-1962

by Joe Beine


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ship Passenger Lists and Records 1800-late June 1948 and Dec. 1954-1962

This page lists research material to help find Philadelphia, Pennsylvania passenger lists (arrival records) from 1800-1962 (with gaps), including online indexes and digitized records, microfilmed indexes and records, and books.

Philadelphia Passenger Lists Online
  • Online Database: Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index and Images 1800-1962 (with gaps) requires payment - part of an Ancestry subscription
    • Includes digitized images of the passenger lists from National Archives microfilm publications M425, T840, A3543, A3544, A4228 and A4229.
    • For Philadelphia ship passenger lists this database includes coverage from 1800 to late June 1948.
    • This database does not include Philadelphia ship passenger lists from July 1, 1948 to November 30, 1954. They have not survived. (See the "Note About Missing Records" below.)
    • Also includes some airplane manifests for arrivals at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the later years (coverage varies; some years are not included).

Philadelphia Passenger Lists and Indexes on Microfilm
German Immigrants to Philadelphia in Germans to America Note About Missing Records
  • Philadelphia ship passenger lists from July 1, 1948-November 30, 1954 were destroyed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) prior to being preserved on microfilm and no longer exist. [Source: Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives of the United States, 3rd ed. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2000, p. 79.] Ancestry's online Philadelphia passenger lists database (see the first link above) covers January 1, 1800-June 28, 1948 for ship passenger lists. Some of the later years in their database, beginning with June 28, 1944 (with gaps), are for airplane arrivals.
Special Inquiry Records, 1893-1909
  • If you see the letter D or SI or BSI next to a passenger's name on the left side of a Philadelphia passenger list, it usually means that passenger was detained or held for a special inquiry. You may want to search for that person in this database:



US Ports of Arrival and Their Available Passenger Lists 1820-1957

Finding Passenger Lists 1820-1940s (arrivals at US Ports)




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