Top Immigration and Naturalization Databases for Researching Your Ancestors

Locate your immigrant ancestors in this collection of immigration databases, passenger lists, naturalization records, and other online immigration and naturalization resources.
Bob Hope arrived in New York City on March 29, 1908, aboard the American Line’s SS Philadelphia from Southampton, England. He came with his mother Avis and five brothers and sisters. You can find him on line 13 as Leslie Hope, the name he was born with.
National Archives and Records Administration
This site is not free, but it has the largest collection of passenger lists, naturalization records, and other databases for researching your immigrant ancestors on the Web. Includes the majority of all incoming ship passenger lists for the United States for the years 1820-1957, as well as Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935 and Border Crossings 1895-1956, and UK Incoming Passenger Lists 1878-1960. Most of these collections include digital images of the actual records. Subscription More »
Volunteers have generously transcribed more than 9,000 passenger manifests, many from early periods of immigration and/or smaller ports. Search the entire site by surname, captain's name, port of arrival or departure, and ship name, or browse by location. Free More »
Search by ship or passenger name to find any of the more than 22 million immigrants who arrived through the Port of New York at Ellis Island port in New York between 1892 and 1924. Free More »
This huge site run by Lorine McGinnis Schulze has been on the Web since 1996 and includes over 2,300 free Ships Passenger Lists to the USA, Canada and South Africa. There are plenty of links to subscription-based Web sites interspersed throughout the site, so take time to carefully explore the site (check out the "5-Step Search" tips on the main page). The free records are marked with a little olive tree. Free resources are clearly marked as such More »
Explore more than 24 million records of immigrants and tourists leaving England for destinations including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States between 1890 and 1960. This subscription based site offers free search, but access to transcriptions and digitized images of the actual records are only available on a pay per view basis. Subscription or pay-per-view More »

Search online in these free online indexes and databases focused on Canadian immigration from the National Archives of Canada, including passenger lists, home children, naturalization records, and border entry records. Included area a searchable index of Immigrants to Canada from the British Isles Before 1865Immigrants who Stayed at the Grosse-Ile Quarantine Station 1832-1937, and Passenger Lists and Border Entries 1925–1935. Free More »

The Public Record Office of Victoria, Australia, offers free online searching of several passenger list databases, including Index to Assisted British Immigration 1839-1871; Index to Outward Passengers to Interstate, UK, NZ and Foreign Ports 1852-1896; and Index to Unassisted Inward Passenger Lists to Victoria 1852-1923. Free More »

Several thousand free pages of content related to immigrants is the highlight of this site, online since 1999. The primary focus is transcribed ships' passenger lists from English speaking countries around the world, but you'll also find immigration reports, newspaper accounts, shipwreck information, ship photos, even diaries and journals. Free More »
The Digitalarkivet at the University of Bergen in Norway provides free online access to Norwegian emigration records, as well as census and other records useful for researching ancestors from Norway. Free More »
The majority of the outbound passenger lists from the major German port of Bremen were either destroyed due to lack of archival space, or lost during WWII. Thankfully, 2851 passenger lists for the years 1920 - 1939 were discovered to still exist (600,000+ passengers), and are transcribed here thanks to a partnership between the Bremen Society for Genealogical Investigation (Die Maus) and the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. Free More »

Passenger lists can often be among the most frustrating online databases to search for a variety of reasons: names are quite often misspelled, not all information is usually included in the index, and you generally can't search for family groups. Here is where Steve Morse comes to the rescue, with special advanced search forms for many popular immigration databases. More »