New York State Library
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Tracing Your Immigrant Ancestors

There is a wide diversity of resources available for researching an immigrant. The following references are only some basic tools of research. Library call numbers have been included for your convenience.

Getting Started

"Tracking Immigrant Origins," in Arlene H. Eakle & Johni Cerny, The Source: a Guidebook of American Genealogy, Ancestry Publ., 1984, pp. 453-516. (R,929.1072073,qS724,84-35448)

Miller, Olga K. Migration, Emigration, Immigration Principally to the United States and in the United States. Two volumes. Everton Publ., 1981. (R,016.929373,qM649,79-23513) This bibliography lists many sources of information about immigrants. An excellent starting place.

Neagles, James C. and Lila Lee Neagles. Locating Your Immigrant Ancestor: A Guide to Naturalization Records. Rev. ed. Everton Publ., 1996. (R,929.1072073,N338,90-48898)

Ptak, Diane S. A Compilation of American and Canadian Passenger/Emigration Registers. D.S. Ptak, 1993. (R929.37,qP975,94-73731) Supplement, 1995. (R,929.37,qP975,94-73731,1993b)

Naturalization Records

Albany: The Albany Hall of Records holds Naturalizations and Declarations of Intentions for Albany County from 1821 to 1991 with indices (indices available online at The Hall of Records address is 95 Tivoli Street, Albany, NY 12207, 518-436-3663. Search room hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Colonies: England and other countries naturalized individuals in the American colonies before 1775. "Naturalizations of Foreign Protestants in the American Colonies Pursuant to Statute 13 George II, c.7," edited by M.S. Gueseppe in Volume 24 of the Huguenot Society of London's [Publications] Quarto Series (J,284.5,qH892) Lists immigrants naturalized in the American colonies during the 1700s.

Scott, Kenneth. Denizations, Naturalizations and Oaths of Allegiance in Colonial New York. Genealogical Publ., 1975. (A,929.3747,S427,76-285) Denization is a British term referring to an alien admitted to residence and to certain rights of citizenship in a country.

New York City: Photographic copies of naturalization documents filed in Federal, State, and local courts located in New York City, 1792 to 1906, and a name index for this file are held by the National Archives and Records Administration, 201 Varick Street, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10014. Telephone: (212) 337-1300; E-Mail: G6

New York State Records: Naturalization records for the period dating from September 27, 1906 until April 1, 1956 may be requested from the Immigration & Naturalization Service. Requests should be submitted to the office of the Immigration and Naturalization Service nearest you. Call or write the office to obtain the proper form for your request.

Scott, Kenneth. Early New York Naturalizations: Abstracts of Naturalization Records from Federal, State, and local courts 1792-1840. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1981. (R,929.3747,S427,81-34067)

Other Places:
Filby, P. William, ed. Philadelphia Naturalization Records: an index. Gale Research, 1982. (R,929.373,qP544,83-25418)

Upstate New York: Naturalization records of upstate New York for the period before 1906 are usually found in local and state court records generally filed in the county clerk's office of the county where the proceedings occurred.

Passenger Lists:

Filby, P. William, ed. Passenger and Immigration Lists Bibliography, 1538-1900; a guide to published lists of arrivals in the United States and Canada. Gale Research, 2nd ed., 1988. (R,016.929373,qP287,82-20465)

Filby, P. William, with Mary K. Meyer, eds. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. Three volumes and supplementary volumes. Gale Research, 1981. (R,929.373,qP2873,81-26439)

Glazier, Ira A. and P. W. Filby, eds. Germans to America: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, 1850-1855. Scholarly Resources, 1988--. 48 vols. (R,929.308931,Ge7e,88-53316)

Glazier, Ira A. and P. W. Filby, eds. Italians to America: lists of passengers arriving at U.S. ports, 1880-1899. Scholarly Resources, 1992--. 4 vols. (R,929.308951,I88,93-2263)

Mitchell, Brian, comp. Irish Passenger Lists, 1847-1871: lists of passengers sailing from Londonderry to America on Ships of J. & J. Cook Line and the McCorkell Line. Genealogical Publishing Co., c1988. (R,929.109416,I68,88-43802)

National Archives and Record Service. Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1820-1846, 103 rolls of microfilm. (MA/FM,929.37471,I38,83-29199) Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1897-1902, 115 rolls of microfilm. (MA/FM,974.71,I38,88-59141) Microform Area.

Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index, 1820-1824. Accelerated Indexing Systems International. c1986. (R,929.373,qS193,87-060396)

Tepper, Michael. American Passenger Arrival Records: a guide to the records of immigrants arriving at American ports by sail and steam. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1988. (R,929.1072073)

The National Archives has some customs passenger lists for ports on the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico and a few inland ports; these lists date mostly from 1820-1945. For information you may write Reference Service Branch (NNIR), National Archives and Records Service, Washington, DC 20408.

Alien Deposition Records

New York State required aliens intending to buy property to file a deposition of the alien's intention to become a citizen. Those records containing useful genealogical information were transcribed by Kenneth Scott and published as New York Alien Residents, 1825-1848. Genealogical Publishing Co., 1978. (R,929.3747,S427,81-34236)

Last Updated: September 1, 2021