Since the founding of New Netherland in 1615, the Dutch have been coming to America. While ongoing since that time, Dutch immigration has ebbed and flowed based on economic conditions and world events. The primary reason for Dutch immigration was not religious persecution, political ideology, or cultural change. Instead, most often, the Dutch chose the United States based on a practical decision that such a move presented their best chance for prosperity. From the seventeenth century forward, the Dutch in America have been a culture largely defined by a highly religious social order, strong work ethic, and commitment to family and education. Historically, most Dutch immigrants were farmers or artisans and made their way through America's cities to settle in its rural areas. That rural predominance has decreased over time, given the world's increased industrialization.
This database contains information on over 50,000 Dutch immigrants who came to America between 1881 and 1894. The information collected in this database was extracted from the National Archives Microfilm Series M237, "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, NY, 1820-1897." This microfilm series consists of original passenger lists from 1820 through 1897. While the entire microfilm series spans 675 rolls, the information collected here covers rolls 433 through 635. It includes individuals who arrived between January 1, 1820 and December 31, 1897. The information that you can learn will help create a well-rounded picture of your Dutch ancestor's arrival in America.
The following information is included in this index: name; gender; birthplace; age; occupation; country of origin; port of embarkation; ship accommodations; port of arrival; date of arrival; intended destination; family status; occupation; National Archive microfilm roll number; National Archives list number; name of ship (often the type of ship is noted as well).
Partly in an effort to alleviate overcrowding of passenger ships, Congress enacted legislation (3 Stat. 489) on March 2, 1819 to regulate the transport of passengers in ships arriving from foreign ports. As a provision of this act, masters of such ships were required to submit a list of all passengers to the collector of customs in the district in which the ship arrived.
The legislation also provided that the collector of customs submit quarterly passenger list reports to the Secretary of State, who was, in turn, required to submit the information to Congress. The information was then published in the form of Congressional documents. A further Congressional act passed on May 7, 1874 repealed the legislative provision requiring collectors to send copies of passenger lists to the Secretary of State. Thereafter, collectors of customs were to send only statistical reports on passenger arrivals to the Department of Treasury.
These passenger lists are important primary sources of arrival data for the vast majority of immigrants to the United States in the nineteenth century. With the single exception of federal census records they are the largest, the most continuous, and the most uniform body of records of the entire country.(Michael Tepper. "American Passenger Arrival Records." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc. 1993. Page 64.)