Using Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

Today’s post is about Using Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934. 

Lately I’ve had some great luck using Hamburger Passagierlisten, 1850-1934 database. Also known as Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, this database at Ancestry is essential for European migration.

These lists were completed by clerks for Hamburg-based steamship lines. Using information from emigrants before their ships left for the U.S., the lists contain more specific information about places of residence before emigration than I’ve found in the corresponding New York passenger arrival lists.

More about using Hamburg Passenger database and images, as described by Ancestry:

This database contains passenger lists of ships that departed from the port of Hamburg, Germany from 1850-1934 (with a gap from 1915-1919 due to World War I). The database includes images of the passenger lists digitized from microfilm in partnership with the Hamburg State Archive, available here for the first time online. It also includes a complete index for the years 1850-1914 (up to the start of World War I) and 1920-1926.

Ancestry helpfully notes that since the records are in German, so it helps to search in German. Only the years 1877-1914 have been indexed at this point. They also suggest browsing the Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934 if your ancestors have not yet been included in the index.

For translations of the categories of information included in the Hamburg Passenger Lists, click here.

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”


  1. Sassy Jane Genealogy 5 July 2010 at 1:00 PM - Reply

    OK, I instantly feel better about Germany because Lithuania must present additional challenges.

    Wasn’t Danny Kaye originally a Kaminsky? Maybe you’re related!

  2. Jen 5 July 2010 at 12:13 PM - Reply

    LOL! I have “an approach-and-avoid response” to my husband’s Lithuanian ancestors. So many name variations and such. I remembered again this weekend why I avoid their lines.

    I have just started using the Hamburg lists on Ancestry and have had some luck finding the departing list where I already have a NY arrival list. I will have to do more searching in the Hamburg lists though to see what additional information I can gain.

    Great post!

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