This database contains passenger lists of ships that departed from the port of Hamburg, Germany from 1850-1934 (with a gap from 1915-1919 due to World War I). The database includes images of the passenger lists digitized from microfilm in partnership with the Hamburg State Archive, available here for the first time online.
The database also includes a partial index, covering the years 1850-1914 (up to the start of WWI) and 1920-1923. This index is complete for the years it covers. The index was created by the Hamburg State Archive, using the original lists in their collection, as part of an ongoing project begun in 1999. The indexing project is mainly financed by the "Hauptfürsorgestelle", an institution of the City of Hamburg that supports training programs for handicapped persons.
The Hamburg Passenger lists are a unique source for genealogical research as well as the study of the history of emigration and immigration. The lists include approximately 5 million records of individuals, approximately 80% of whom were destined for the United States. Ca. 475,000 traveled to South America, ca. 214,000 to Canada, ca. 100,000 to Africa, ca. 54,000 to Australia, and ca. 10,000 to Asian countries. Most of the lists include the last place of residence and often the place of birth as well. This makes them an enormously valuable source for family history research.
Approximately one third of the passengers who departed Hamburg were from Germany, while nearly two thirds came from Eastern Europe, especially in the period from 1880-1914. Among these were approximately 1.2 million people from Russia, Austria-Hungary, Romania, and other countries of southeastern Europe. The records also include about 750,000 Jewish immigrants from Russia, who sailed at this time from Hamburg to the United States.
From 1850-1854 the lists consisted merely of a roughly alphabetical registration, sometimes even with abbreviated first names, later including more detailed information. From 1854-1910, separate lists were maintained for direct passengers and indirect passengers. "Direct passengers" were those who arrived at their final destination upon the same ship that they were registered on when they departed Hamburg. These passengers may have had stopovers in other ports on their way to their final destination, but they remained on the same ship. "Indirect passengers" were those who were registered on one ship in Hamburg, but transferred to another ship before reaching their final destination. Transfers to other ships occurred mostly in English, French, Belgian, and Dutch ports, and usually had to do with reducing travel costs. From 1870 to 1892, one third or more of the passengers traveled via the indirect route, but later this declined to about 4%. From 1911 onward, the direct and indirect passengers were no longer recorded in separate lists.
Information contained in this database includes:
- Name of passenger
- Birth date (or estimated birth year if birth date is not available)
- Marital status
- Relationship to head of family
- Military Service
- Final place of destination
- Port of departure
- Date of departure
- Port of arrival
- Shipping Line
- Ship Type
- Ship Name
- Which flag sailed under
- Source information (page, line, microfilm roll, and series numbers)
Not all of this information may be available for each individual as not all of the passenger list forms included all of these fields. Many of these items may be used to search the index for the years 1850-1923, using the search template above.
How Do I Find a Name that is not Indexed?
To access records for the years that have not yet been indexed, you may want to begin by browsing the companion database, Hamburg Passenger Lists, Handwritten Indexes, 1855-1934. Using the handwritten indexes, you can look up the name of your ancestor alphabetically by year and find the departure date or page number of the passenger list. Then you can return to this database and browse to the images by selecting the year of departure, then selecting the particular volume (Band) that covers the date range when your ancestor sailed, then browsing to the image that matches the departure date or page number found in the handwritten index. If you already know the departure date you can browse directly to it from here. Browsing to the images is also an alternative means of accessing the records for the years that have been indexed.
Note: Use of the data and images in this online database is governed by the terms and conditions of this site. Any use of these records not specifically permitted in the terms and conditions requires the permission of the Hamburg State Archive.
The Hamburg Passenger Lists are also available in the Ballinstadt Emigration Museum in Hamburg.
Find resources in our German Research Center.