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New York Genealogy

Guide to Genealogical Resources for research in New York State

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Immigration to the Port of New York City

Immigrants arriving by ship in the port of New York City between 1855 and 1954 would have processed through one of two stations: Castle Garden (state processing center from 1855 - 1890) or Ellis Island (federal processing center from 1892 - 1954).

Immigration, General

Besides New York, individuals might have arrived in the U.S. at one of several other ports.

The National Archives makes available four (4) of its series of passenger arrival records for digital access. These passengers arrived not only at the port of New York, but also at Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, or Philadelphia.

  • Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Russians to the United States, 1834-1897
  • Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine, 1/12/1846-12/31/1851
  • Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Germans to the United States, 1850-1897
  • Data Files Relating to the Immigration of Italians to the United States, 1855-1900

The series may be searched collectively.

Naturalization Records

Naturalization is the voluntary process by which an immigrant to the United States becomes an American citizen.  Naturalization could take place in any court of record, and for many immigrants that meant the court most convenient to their residence regardless of the name or type of court, which varies from state to state.  Generally, naturalization was a 2-step process requiring 1st the declaration of intent, followed by the petition for naturalization.  The two steps of the process were not required to take place in the same court.

For a more in-depth introduction to naturalization records, see Naturalization Records, by the National Archives, particularly the first three sections: Introduction, The Courts, The Process.

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