Passenger Lists – Ellis Island and Other Major World Ports
Your Source for Steamship Lists of Passengers from the 1880s - 1954
Early passenger lists were handwritten but once printing presses became commonplace on many steamships, the lists became a souvenir of the voyage. The covers of many of the older lists contained superb graphics and are highly prized by collectors.
The GG Archives has an extensive collection of these passenger records in our Maritime Collection. Our largest holdings are for the Cunard Line / Cunard White Star Line.
The lists of passengers vary considerably between steamship lines in terms of information provided on each passenger. Additionally, on many voyages, each class received a separate passenger list while others combined multiple classes into one or two lists for the same voyage. Newspaper reporters of the era were usually on hand to review passenger arrivials for VIPs and other noteworthy passengers.
- Allan Royal Mail Line
- American Merchant Lines
- Anchor - Donaldson
- Canadian Pacific Ocean Services (CPOS)
- Cunard White Star
- Italian Steamship Lines includes Italia Line - Soc. per Azioni di Navigzione Genova and Sabaudo - Navigazione Generale (S.p.A.N.), Cosulich Line, Lloyd Sabaudo, Navigazione Generale Italiana / Italia-America Shipping Corp (NGI Italian Line)
- KNSM (Koninklijke Nederlandsche Stoomboot Maatschappij / Royal Netherlands Steamship Company)
- Leyland Line
- Orient Line
- Pacific Line (P.S.N.C.)
- Royal Mail Lines
- Swedish American Line (Svenska Amerika Linien)
- Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company
- United American Lines (Harriman Line)
- White Star Dominion Line
- Yeoward Line
What Are Passenger Lists?
Every traveler may have at least one interesting souvenir of the voyage across the Atlantic. The names of the Passengers, and in some cases their home addresses, are neatly printed upon folios along with a blank chart for recording the progress of the voyage, and more or less information about the company, the vessel, and the fleet of which it is a member.
A sufficient number of these passenger lists are printed to assure one at least for every cabin passenger, and the lists are usually distributed in the saloon soon after the vessel leaves her dock. They are not only prized as souvenirs, but they are invaluable in assisting one to make acquaintances—or avoid them, for that matter.
It is the custom of some of the lines to distribute passenger lists at the gang-plank just previous to the sailing of the vessel, so that friends of Passengers may carry away a token of the great journey, and speculate as to how companionable this or another person will prove to the party in which they are especially interested.
On nearly all the larger vessels there is a miniature newspaper printed by the ship's printer, which gives the usual amount of " local " gossip and happenings peculiar to the surroundings ; articles are contributed by the Passengers, and sometimes there is a good deal of talent on board. Reports of concerts and domestic entertainments, etc., are given.
- An excerpt from Ocean Passenger Travel 1891
- Put Passenger Lists into social context with this article: Who's Who On Board: The Secrets In The Passenger List