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Immigrant Passenger Lists FAQ's

Front Cover of 1883 Passenger List of the Inman Line

Passenger Lists, Ships List, Passenger Manifests all seem to mean the same thing, but what are the differences, and how can you utilize these documents most effectively? The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives provides several topical articles covering passenger lists.

  • Classification of Passengers
    Many passenger lists were prepared by class of passenger. The earlier passenger lists often printd separate lists for each class of passenger carried by the vessel. Later passenger lists often combined classes.
  • Designations (Prefix) of Steamships
    The designations of the steamships are the prefix such as SS, R.M.S., M.V., or TSS to name a few. Here are the definitions of what that means.
  • European Ports of Departure
    Immigrants from European countries provided the largest portion of immigrants to the United States and Canada. Below are the primiary ports of departure for the major steamship lines from the 1880s through 1954.
  • Passenger List Information
    There was considerable variance in the amount of information provided within each passenger lists. The German steamship lines typically issued some of the most informative and substantive passenger lists.
  • Passenger Lists Organization
    The GG Archives passenger list collection numbers about two thousand, dating from the 1880s through the 1950s. Over half of these have been transcribed and are available online to researchers and genealogists.
  • Difference Between Passenger Manifests and Passenger Lists
    Unlike the Passenger Manifests which were prepared on behalf of Government Agencies and Immigration officials, Passenger Lists were considered Souvenirs of the Voyage.
  • 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.
  • The Quandary of Passenger List Transcriptions
    We receive the most mail from people regarding transcriptions of passenger lists and more specifically, when they will become available. One little nasty detail popped up - they refer to it as "economy of scale."
  • Where are the Passenger Lists?
    On occasion, we have fielded questions from our patrons on the extent of our collections, and more specifically, on the completeness of our collections.
  • Ports of Call City Codes
    These are the port city codes that are used on passenger list summaries for ports of calls made for the steamship voyages.
  • Everything You Need To Know about Steamship Passage Tickets
    A Steamship Ticket is a document of paper bearing the line's name for which it is purchased. On it is a printed agreement to transport the passenger.
  • Recovery of the Head Tax
    For many of our passenger lists that contain information for passengers, envariably, you will encounter an unusual term called "Head Tax." What is a Head Tax? How do you recover the Head Tax?
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The Folks Behind the GG Archives

The GG Archives is the work and passion of two people, Paul Gjenvick, a professional archivist, and Evelyne Gjenvick, a curator. Paul earned a Masters of Archival Studies - a terminal degree from Clayton State University in Georgia, where he studied under renowned archivist Richard Pearce-Moses. Our research into the RMS Laconia and SS Bergensfjord, the ships that brought two members of the Gjønvik family from Norway to the United States in the early 20th century, has helped us design our site for other genealogists. The extent of original materials at the GG Archives can be very beneficial when researching your family's migration from Europe.