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Source Information

Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007.
Original data: Selected Passports. National Archives, Washington, D.C.


A full list of sources can be found here.

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925

Passport applications from 1795–1925 are contained in this database including emergency passport applications (passports issued abroad) for the years 1877–1925; special passport applications (military, diplomats, civilian federal employees, and dependents), 1914–1925; applications for extension and amendment of passports, 1918–1925; applications for certificates of identity in Germany, 1920–1921; and applications for declarants 1907–1911 and 1914–1920. It also contains passport application registers for 1810–1817, 1830–1831, and 1834–1906. Passports issued March 4–5, 1919 (numbers 67500–67749) are missing from the NARA collection and not in this database.

Although there are passport records from multiple states in this database, specific state, U.S. territory, and U.S. possessions collections are as follows:

  • California (1914–1925)
  • Hawaii (1907–1925)
  • Illinois (1914–1925)
  • Louisiana (1914–1925)
  • New York (1914–1925)
  • Philippines (1907–1925)
  • Puerto Rico (1907–1925)
  • Washington (1914–1925)

About U.S. Passport Applications, 1795–1925

The U.S. government has issued passports to American citizens since 1789 through several different agencies over the years. For the most part, passports were not required of U.S. citizens for foreign travel until World War I, although they were mandatory for a short time during the Civil War (Aug. 19, 1861–Mar. 17, 1862). An Executive Order given in 1915 and a later act of Congress in 1918 established the passport requirement for citizens traveling abroad. This law lapsed with the formal termination of World War I and treaties with Germany, Austria, and Hungary in 1921. With the onset of World War II In 1941, the Congressional act of 1918 was reinstated requiring U.S. citizens to carry a passport for foreign travel as is required today.

Passport Applications

Passport applications can provide a wealth of information, including:

  • Name of applicant
  • Birth date or age
  • Birthplace
  • Residence
  • 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 of residence in the U.S.
  • Naturalization date and place
  • Occupation
  • Physical characteristics

To receive a U.S. passport, a person had to submit proof of U.S. citizenship usually in the form of a letter, affidavits of witnesses, and certificates from clerks or notaries. Sometimes these additional documents are included as part of the application as is a photo of the applicant.

Application Forms

There was a variety of passport application forms used throughout the years. By 1888 there were separate application forms for native citizens, naturalized citizens, and derivative citizens (children who become citizens through their parents’ naturalization). As a result, all of the above listed information may not be available for every applicant. Likewise, there may be additional information other than what is shown above on the application form; some information may only be obtained by viewing the image of the application.

Passport Application Registers

Passport application registers may provide:

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

Some of the above information was taken from:

  • J. Dane Hartgrove. Descriptive Pamphlet to Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, 1986.
  • Loretto Dennis Szucs, Kory L. Meyerink, and Marian Smith, "Immigration Records" in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, ed. Loretto Dennis Szucs and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking (Provo, Utah: Ancestry, 2006).
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