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U.S. passport applications 1795-1925 now online at Ancestry

Ancestry.com just released a major new database for U.S. researchers: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925. Click on the image below for an example of what new information might be found:

Passport

The above document is the passport application for my 2nd great-grandfather, which I literally located in seconds using Ancestry's new database. This document provided his name, exact place of birth in Denmark, exact day of birth, his residences from 1870-1902, occupation, date of immigration, and date of naturalization.

The new passports database is available to subscribers of Ancestry.com, or is freely available via your nearest Family History Center. Begin your search by clicking here.

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 (description from Ancestry.com)

The U.S. government has issued passports to American citizens since 1789, albeit through several different agencies throughout the years. For the most part, passports were not required of U.S. citizens for foreign travel until World War I. Passports were required for a short time during the Civil War (Aug. 19, 1861-Mar. 17, 1862). An Executive Order given in 1915, and then later an act of Congress given in 1918, established the passport requirement for citizens traveling abroad. This law lapsed with the formal termination of World War I through treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary in 1921. In 1941, with the onset of World War II, the Congressional act of 1918 was reinstated. U.S. citizens have been required to carry a passport for foreign travel ever since.

This database contains passport applications from 1795-1925, including emergency passport applications (passports issued abroad) from 1877-1907. It also contains passport application registers for 1810-1817, 1830-1831, and 1834-1906. Passports issued March 4-5, 1919 (numbers 67500-67749) are missing from the NARA collection and therefore, are missing from this database as well.

Passport Applications:

Passport applications can provide a wealth of information, including:

  • Name of applicant
  • Birth date or age
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • Date of application or issuance of passport
  • Father’s and/or husband’s name
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birth date or age
  • Father’s and/or husband’s birthplace
  • Father’s and/or husband’s residence
  • Wife’s name
  • Date and place of immigration to the U.S.
  • Years in which have resided in the U.S.
  • Naturalization date and place
  • Occupation
  • Physical characteristics

Some passport applications include a photo of the applicant. To receive a U.S. passport, a person had to submit proof of U.S. citizenship. This was usually in the form of a letter, affidavits of witnesses, and certificates from clerks or notaries. Sometimes these other documents are included as part of the application.

There was a variety of passport application forms used throughout the years. By 1888 there were separate application forms for native citizens, naturalized citizens, and derivative citizens. As a result, all of the above listed information may not be available for every applicant. Likewise, there may be additional information, other than what is shown above, listed on the application form. Some information may only be obtained by viewing the image of the application.

Passport Application Registers:

Passport application registers may provide:

  • Date and number of application
  • Name of applicant
  • Age of applicant (1834-1849)
  • Physical characteristics of applicant (1834-1849)

Part of the application registers consists of a volume of the following miscellaneous special passports:

  1. A register of special passports issued at New York, 1862-1869
  2. A register of special passports granted by John Forsyth, Secretary of State and successor Secretaries of State, 1836-1864
  3. A register of Special Courier Passports, 1865-1869
  4. Passport Account of J.B. Nones, which is a record of fees received for passports, 1867
  5. Passport Account of George F. Baker, 1864-1869

Some of the above information was taken from:

J. Dane Hartgrove. Descriptive Pamphlet to Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, 1986.

Loretto Dennis Szucs, Kory L. Meyerink, and Marian Smith, "Immigration Records" in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006).

Comments

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I cannot find the Passport database on Ancestry.com.
I called and they could not help me find it.
What day did it go online?

Gary, click on the link above that says "Begin your search by clicking here."

Sorry but that link re passports on Ancestry doesn't seem to work for me :-(

My local FHC no longer has access to Ancestry.com and I think this is true for most of the FHC locations. I was told that the favorable relationship between LDS and Ancestry.com disolved soon after the last ownership change at Ancestry.

Check your local library for access to Ancestry.com.

If you are successful in getting your surname, Ancestry.com wants a fee before you can view the info of the database.

US Passport Applications is NOT one of the 40 databases from Ancestry.com that is available through the Family History Centers. At least not when I was there last night. I would love to be proven wrong.
Michaele

From Bavaria in approximately 1860

Came to the U S in 1853 aboard the Ship Ellen Maria leaving from Liverpoole, England.

I just checked this out, and it is a wonderful resource --
IF I had anyone to check on. Unfortunately for me, all of
my ancestors that I've located to date were here before
1795, and they don't appear to have gone back -- they just
went WEST!!

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