Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
A full list of sources can be found here.
These passenger and crew lists from both ships and aircraft were recorded on a variety of forms that were then turned over to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Details requested on the forms varied, but they typically include the name of the vessel and arrival date, ports of departure and arrival (as well as future destinations on a ship’s itinerary), dates of departure and arrival, shipmaster, full name, age, gender, physical description, military rank (if any), occupation, birthplace, citizen of what country, and residence. For military transports, you may find the next of kin, relationships, and address listed as well. Later manifests may include visa or passport numbers.
If a name of a friend or relative whom the individual was going to join with, or a place of nativity was provided, that information is included in the index as well. Many of these items may be used to search the index in the search template above.
Many passenger list forms, especially those from the twentieth century, were two pages long. Be sure to click the "Previous" and "Next" buttons in order to see all the images pertaining to a particular manifest.
It is important to note that the port of departure listed on these passenger lists is not always the original port of departure for these individuals. A ship could make several voyages throughout the year, making several stops along way. Oft times the port of departure found on these lists is the most recent port the ship was located at prior to arriving at the port of Galveston. Therefore, if your ancestors emigrated to the U.S. from Germany, they could be found on a passenger list coming from Liverpool, England (if, in this case, the ship left from Bremen, Germany then continued on to Liverpool, England before arriving in Galveston).
The microcopies of the passenger lists found at NARA are arranged chronologically by arrival date of vessel. If you do not wish to search this database using the search template, the images may be browsed following the chronological arrangement. To browse the images first select the "Arrival Place" in which you would like to search, followed by the "Year", and finally the "Month".
To learn about researching in passenger records consult John P. Colletta's book, They Came In Ships (Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993).
*The first roll of microfilm contains some passenger lists from 1893, but none from 1894 or 1895. That is why the database has a beginning year range of 1896.