Immigration and Naturalization

Passenger Lists

The reference division has a collection of passenger lists and passenger list indexes in the first floor Reading Room. Titles include:

  • Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (CD-ROM)
  • Rhode Island Passenger Lists: Port of Providence, 1798-1808; 1820-1872, Port of Bristol and Warren 1820-1871
  • Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Providence, 1912-1943 (microfilm)
  • The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-(ongoing)
  • The Famine Immigrants: Lists of Irish Immigrants Arriving at the Port of New York, 1846-1851
  • Passengers to America: A Consolidation of Ship Passenger Lists from the New England Historic Genealogical Register

Some passenger lists for specific immigrant groups are available. Additionally, access to the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild is available on our Internet station. Locating passenger lists for some groups – for instance, Irish passengers who emigrated during the potato famine – can be challenging.

Other sources for Boston and New York passenger lists may be available through theNational Archives and Records Administration and the Massachusetts State Archives.

Maritime Records

Maritime records available in the Reference collection include:

  • Register of Seamen’s Protection (Port of Providence, 1796-1883)
  • WPA’s Abstracts of Registers and Enrollments (Providence (1773-1938), Newport (1790-1939), and Bristol/Warren (1800-1913). The Providence records also include an index of owners and masters.)

Original custom house papers for the ports of ProvidenceBristol, and Warren are available in our Manuscripts Division. Please contact Reference@rihs.org for more information.

Naturalization

The library does not have naturalization records, which can be difficult to locate. Immigrants could have been naturalized in either the federal or Rhode Island court system. The Library has a microfilm Soundex index to federal naturalization records from 1790 to 1906. For actual records, it is necessary to contact either theNational Archives in Waltham, Massachusetts or the Rhode Island Supreme Court Judicial Records Center in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Our guide to finding naturalization records includes additional information about these resources.