Source Information

Ancestry.com. New Orleans, Passenger List Quarterly Abstracts, 1820-1875 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Original data:

Quarterly Abstracts of Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1820–1875. M272, 17 rolls. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

About New Orleans, Passenger List Quarterly Abstracts, 1820-1875

This database contains abstracts created from passenger lists of foreign vessels arriving at New Orleans.

Historical Background

Starting 1 January 1820, an 1819 act of Congress required that foreign vessels landing at U.S. ports provide a list of passengers aboard. The collectors of customs were then required to send copies (abstracts) of these lists to the Secretary of State on a quarterly basis. That is the genesis for the passenger list abstracts in this database. An 1874 act required customs officials to send only statistics rather than copies of the lists, which corresponds with the end of the record set in this database.

What You Can Find in the Records

Keep in mind that these are passenger lists from vessels coming from foreign ports. The abstracts are arranged chronologically by arrival date, and they typically contain the same details found on passenger lists:

  • arrival date
  • vessel name
  • port of embarkation
  • master’s name
  • passenger’s name
  • age
  • sex
  • occupation
  • country to which they belong
  • country to which they intend to become inhabitants
  • deaths (whether this passenger died)

The original copies of these records were in two series, one of unbound abstracts 1820–1844 and another of bound copies 1845–1875. Both series have some gaps, and this collection is not necessarily a comprehensive list of all foreign ships that arrived in New Orleans during this period.