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Passenger lists are important primary sources of arrival data for the
vast majority of immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth century.
Indexed and easy to search, this Family Archive includes extensive arrival
information on approximately 258,000 individuals who arrived in New Orleans
between 1820 and 1850.
Partly in an effort to alleviate overcrowding of passenger ships, Congress
enacted legislation (3 Stat. 489) on March 2, 1819 to regulate the transport
of passengers in ships arriving from foreign ports. As a provision of
this act, masters of such ships were required to submit a list of all
passengers to the collector of customs in the district in which the ship
arrived. The legislation also provided that the collector of customs submit
quarterly passenger list reports to the Secretary of State, who was, in
turn, required to submit the information to Congress. The information
was then published in the form of Congressional documents. These passenger
lists are important primary sources of arrival data for the vast majority
of immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth century.