Section 9.0 - Passport Records
Passport applications may help resolve the problem of locating your ancestral home. Naturalized immigrants may have applied for passports when they may have returned to visit their native countries. If they did apply for a passport, their passport records would generally provide information regarding:
Note: Passports were not always required - Until 1941, there was no statutory requirement that American citizens have a passport for travel to most foreign countries (with two exceptions). Therefore, you may never find a passport (or passport application) for your ancestor, even though you are certain that he had traveled abroad. There were two exceptions:
For additional information on passports, see: The United States Passport: Past, Present, and Future; Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976.
Records for 1795 to 1925
has these records indexed online with the images of the passport
The passport records (including both the indexes and the applications) for this time period are available on microfilm at the National Archives and at your local LDS Family History Center.
Indexes are available on microfilm for passport applications for 1795 to 1925 . Unless you have specific information regarding the passport, you must start by using these indexes to find the date and number of an application. Using that information, you can then locate the particular application. However, these finding aids may be incomplete.
Passport Applications are available on microfilm for:
The following National Archives Microfilm Publications
contain some of these records:
M1371, Registers and Indexes for Passport Applications, 1810-1905
M1848, Index to Passport Applications, 1850-52, 1860-80,1881, 1906-23
M1372, Passport Applications, 1795-1905
M1490, Passport Applications, 1906-March 31,1925
web site provides additional information.
You may write to the National Archives at the following address: (Provide the full name, date of birth and date of citizenship)
National Archives and Records Administration
8th & Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20408.
These records are listed in the LDS Family History Catalog under:
Emigration and Immigration --- United States --- Immigration and Naturalization Service.
You may also begin your search of the Family History Catalog by using the film number option and entering the "starting" microfilm numbers as shown in the following table:
|CARD INDEX TO PASSPORT APPLICATIONS, 1850-1852,1860-1880||1429876|
|INDEX TO PASSPORT APPLICATIONS, 1881-1906||1463570|
|CARD INDEX TO PASSPORT APPLICATIONS, 1906-1925||1429905|
|CARD INDEX TO PASSPORT EXTENSIONS, 1910-1917||1429928|
|PASSPORT APPLICATIONS, 1795-1925||1531851|
|INDEX TO SPECIAL PASSPORT APPLICATIONS||1463577|
|SPECIAL PASSPORTS, 1829-1897||1549210|
|EMERGENCY PASSPORT APPLICATIONS ISSUED ABROARD 1877-1907; INDEXES 1874-1918||1463575|
Searching Passport Records after 1925
Passport records dated after March 31, 1925, remain in the custody of the Department of State, Passport Services. These records normally consist of applications for U. S. passports and supporting evidence of U. S citizenship, and are protected by the Privacy Act. Passport records do not include evidence of travel such as entrance/exit stamps, visas, residence permits, etc., since this information is entered into the passport book after issuance.
The Privacy Act allows you to obtain copies of records in your own name. To request a search of these records, submit: a typed or clearly printed and NOTARIZED request, details of the requirements for the request are located on the Department of State's web site. A check or money order for $50.00 - made payable to the Department of State is required. The request should be sent to:
Department of State
Office of Legal Affairs
Law Enforcement Liaison Division
1111 19th Street, N.W. – Rm. 500
Washington, DC 20036
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Copyright © Arnold H. Lang 2002