Explore your family’s arrival at the port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between the years 1846 and 1851. These exciting records will help you uncover more information about your family’s journey to America, including the ship’s name, their occupation, and other relatives.
With nearly 50,000 entries, these records were taken from the original ship manifests recorded by the ship’s master. The amount of information for each passenger can vary, but the Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1846-1851 typically provide:
The Philadelphia Passenger Lists provide information about immigrants who came to Philadelphia from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, as well as other countries between 1846 and 1851. Like many other major port cities along the East Coast, Philadelphia received immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland since the 1600’s. Increasing numbers of Irish immigrants began to arrive during the years 1846 to 1851, the height of the Great Irish Famine, when millions of families left Ireland for America. Like the immigrants who came before them, these families sought new lives and opportunities in the United States.
When researching your own family, keep in mind that some families did not always arrive in a single group. In some cases, the head of a family would travel ahead to prepare the way for his wife and children. Their arrival in Philadelphia was often only the first stop on a family’s longer journey into America. Families frequently made their way to areas where distant relatives or those from their former homeland had previously settled, whether in Philadelphia or other cities and states.
Passenger lists are just one of many records that detail your family’s journey to America. These records can include errors or mistakes in spellings, occupations, and ages. Birth years in this collection were calculated from an individual’s stated age and the year of immigration. To find more information about your relatives, explore local newspapers, as well as census records. Naturalization records are another useful source, as many immigrants strove to become American citizens, filing papers for their naturalization after their arrival.
For more information about original passenger lists see The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 3rd Edition, by Val D. Greenwood.
The original ship’s passenger lists on which the transcripts are based are kept on microfilm, publication number M425, at the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), in Washington D.C.
These records are provided in partnership with the JFK Trust, an organization that has worked with many other groups like the Balch Institute, the Ellis Island Restoration Commission and the Battery Conservancy to collect a complete database of Irish emigration to the United States. Their work with records helps to illustrate the long history of Irish immigration to the United States.