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U.S. Passenger List Annotations

What do the Markings on the Manifest Mean?

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Contrary to popular belief, U.S. customs officials or Immigration Services did not create ship passenger lists. Ship manifests were completed, generally at the point of departure, by steamship companies. These passenger manifests were then submitted to the immigration officials upon arrival in the United States.

U.S. immigration officials were known to add annotations to these ship passenger lists, both at the time of arrival or many years later. These annotations may have been made to correct or clarify certain information, or to reference naturalization or other relevant documents.

Annotations Made at Time of Arrival

Annotations added to passenger manifests at the time of a ship's arrival were made by immigration officials in order to clarify information or to detail a problem a passenger's entrance to the United States.

X - An "X" to the far left of the page, before or in the name column, signifies that the passenger was temporarily detained. Look at the end of the manifest for that particular ship to see the list of all detained aliens.

S.I. or B.S.I. - Also found to the far left of the manifest, before the name. This meant that the passenger was held for a Board of Special Inquiry hearing, and perhaps slated to be deported. Additional information may be found at the end of the manifest.

USB or USC - Indicates "U.S. born" or "U.S. citizen" and is sometimes found noted on the manifests for U.S. citizens returning from a trip abroad.

Annotations Made Later

The most common annotations added to ship passenger lists after the time of arrival had to do with verification checks, generally in response to a application for citizenship or naturalization.

C # - Look for C followed by a bunch of numbers - usually stamped or handwritten near the individual's name on the passenger manifest. This refers to the Naturalization certificate number. This may have been entered while verifying immigration for a naturalization petition, or upon arrival for a returning U.S. citizen.

435/621 - These or similar numbers with no date given may refer to the NY file number and indicates an early verification or record check. These files no longer survive.

432731/435765 - Numbers in this format generally refer to a permanent U.S. resident returning from a visit abroad with a Reentry Permit.

Number in the Occupation Column - Numerical sequences in the occupation column were often added during verification for naturalization purposes, usually after 1926. The first number is the naturalization number, the second is the application number or Certificate of Arrival number. An "x" between the two numbers indicates that no fee was required for the Certificate of Arrival. Indicates the naturalization process was initiated, although not necessarily completed. These numbers are often followed by the date of the verification.

C/A or c/a - Stands for Certificate of Arrival and indicates that the naturalization process was initiated with a Declaration of Intention, although not necessarily completed.

V/L or v/l - Stands for Verification of Landing. Indicates a verification or record check.

404 or 505 - This is the number of the verification form used to transmit manifest information to the requesting INS office. Indicates a verification or record check.

Name crossed out with line, or completely x'd out with another name written in - The name was officially amended. Records generated by this official process may still survive.

W/A or w/a - a Warrant of Arrest. Additional records may survive at the county level.

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