An updated index to Hamburg passenger lists for 1850-1914 is now available at Ancestry. 
This is great news. Previously the database only had indexed records from 1887-1914.

updated index to hamburg passenger lists sassy jane genealogyThe additional 37 years have added 800,000 new records to the index, for a total of more than 4.5 million names. All of the images in the Hamburg Passenger Lists, aka Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934, are available and indexing has started on the remaining years from 1915-1934.

The notes for this database have been updated as well. If you haven’t found your ancestors in the Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934, Ancestry recommends a “partial index, covering the years 1850-1914 (up to the start of WWI). This index is complete for the years it covers. The index was created by the Hamburg State Archive, using the original lists in their collection, as part of an ongoing project begun in 1999. The indexing project is mainly financed by the “Hauptfürsorgestelle”, an institution of the City of Hamburg that supports training programs for handicapped persons.”

Ancestry also notes: “Approximately one third of the passengers who departed Hamburg were from Germany, while nearly two thirds came from Eastern Europe, especially in the period from 1880-1914. Among these were approximately 1.2 million people from Russia, Austria-Hungary, Romania, and other countries of southeastern Europe. The records also include about 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Russia, who sailed at this time from Hamburg to the United States.”

If your German is rusty (or non-existent), here’s a link to my post that translates the categories used in the Hamburg Passenger Lists for passengers departing for America. In my experience, these lists are far more detailed about places of origin than the arrival lists for New York and other U.S. ports.

If you are new to using the Hamburg Passenger Lists, this post gives some pointers on searching the updated index to Hamburg Passenger Lists.