21 November 2007

FLASH: US Passport Collection at Ancestry

Ancestry has released a new collection: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

The US government has issued passports to American citizens since 1789. For the most part, passports were not required of UScitizens for foreign travel until World War I. A 1915 Executive Order followed by a 1948 Act of Congress established passport requirements for traveling citizens. Although there have been several permutations of laws, passport requirements were set in 1941 for all US citizens.

This database contains passport applications (1795-1925), emergency passport applications (passports issued abroad) (1877-1907), passport application registers (1810-1817, 1830-1831, 1834-1906), although passports issued March 4-5, 1919 (numbers 67500-67749) are missing from the NARA collection from this database.

What can you expect to find in this collection? In addition to data below, some applications also include photographs.

Passport applications can provide:

Name of applicant
Birth date or age
Date of application or issuance of passport
Father’s and/or husband’s name
Father’s and/or husband’s birth date or age
Father’s and/or husband’s birthplace
Father’s and/or husband’s residence
Wife’s name
Date and place of immigration to the U.S.
Years in which have resided in the U.S.
Naturalization date and place
Physical characteristics

Passport application registers may provide:

Date and number of application
Name of applicant
Age of applicant (1834-1849)
Physical characteristics of applicant (1834-1849)

Part of the application registers consists of a volume of the following miscellaneous special passports:

1. A register of special passports issued at New York, 1862-1869
2. A register of special passports granted by John Forsyth, Secretary of State and successor Secretaries of State, 1836-1864
3. A register of Special Courier Passports, 1865-1869
4. Passport Account of J.B. Nones, which is a record of fees received for passports, 1867
5. Passport Account of George F. Baker, 1864-1869

For more information and to search the collection, click here U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925.


  1. Schelly,

    Thank you for bringing the US Passport Collection to my attention. It sounds like a wonderful offering, although I haven't found any relatives listed in it yet... I guess most of my ancestors stayed close to home, except in wartime.


  2. Hi, Janice.

    With the holiday today, I haven't been able to search it either, but we had family here in the late 1890s, and I know some traveled. So I'm looking forward to searching for myself and for other groups of immigrants, such as Sephardim who were in the US very early and also did quite a bit of traveling.