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American family records

7 places you'll discover American ancestors (that you may have missed)

The Findmypast team
31 January 2017

Do you want to trace family who settled in the United States? See if you can find them in these important American record collections.

We've put together some often overlooked highlights from our US record collection. These resources can help you uncover American family records you haven't seen before.

Search US records

Whether you are just starting to examine the American branches of your family tree, or are a seasoned genealogist looking to build on what you already know, there may be something here for you.

Without doubt, one of the most important American record collections on Findmypast is our US marriages.

Spanning 350 years, the collection includes around 450 million names, many exclusive to Findmypast. When complete, it will be the largest record set of its kind online.

Our collection of United States Family Histories contains over 930,000 images taken from 3,926 family histories and genealogies from all 50 states as well as several locations overseas. These records can be searched by publication year, title, county, state, page number and additional keywords.

The publications included have a particular emphasis on tracing the descendants of the early, colonial immigrants to the United States. Among these histories, you can find the majority of the families that make up the First Families of Virginia. While the information contained in these records requires verification from original records, these books are substantial resources for genealogists.

Released in association with The National Archives, these records reveal details of pioneering early travellers who left Britain for Ireland, continental Europe, New England, Barbados, Bermuda and other overseas colonies at the dawn of the age of sail.

New England immigration records

This unique record set contains rare evidence of real voyages in the 16th and 17th century, like this journey to New England.

If you're researching your earliest American ancestors, this record set could prove invaluable. It includes lists of soldiers who signed a statutory oath of allegiance before serving in the "Low Countries" between 1613 and 1633, licences for individuals travelling to Europe between 1573 and 1677, and registers pertaining to individuals travelling to the Americas between 1634 and 1639.

The records showing passengers licensed to embark to the Americas are tremendously rare early survivals and record parties bound for colonies in Barbados, St Kitt's, New England, Maryland, Virginia and the Providence Island colony during the 1630s.

Containing over 6.6 million highly-detailed records, this record set is made up of four collections from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Specifically, you'll find both indexes and passenger manifests of entries from Canada into the United States through St Albans, Vermont, between 1895 and 1954.

Canadian border crossing record

Franziska Bixa arrives from Germany with two suitcases, 1951

For emigrants, passage to Canada was generally less expensive than travelling directly to the United States. If you have been unable to discover how your ancestors arrived in the United States using other US travel and migration records, it could be because they chose to take this route.

1840 U.S. Census, Revolutionary War Veterans contains over 21,000 records of ex-servicemen and their next of kin who were receiving pensions in 1840 for service in the American Revolutionary War.

On the back of the population schedules for the US 1840 census, enumerators recorded the living pensioners of the Revolutionary War, as well as other military service. The lists also noted an individual's age and the name of the head of household in which the individual lived.

Scour more than 7.8 million American records spanning the years 1905 to 1950 with this useful resource.

US naturalization records

Just some of the information available in our naturalization records

The collection currently covers four states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, and allows you to discover when and where your immigrant ancestor was born, how old they were when they first crossed the Atlantic and their port of entry. Images of the original documents may even include a photograph of your ancestor.

Discover when, where, and why your ancestors travelled from America with over 800,000 historical passport applications. These records may also include a physical description, your ancestor's occupation, residence, naturalisation details, the name of their spouse, date of birth and place of birth.

US passport records

An application from a Eugene Sinatra, born in Italy

Most applications are one to two pages in length and, from 21 December 1914 onward, photographs of applicants are also included. Photographs can be found on the second page when viewing images of the original document.