One of the many - and often overlooked, are passport applications and passports themselves. Here we will show and discuss U.S. applications and show and discuss a passport from Nazi Germany.
For United States passport applications, required reading is from the U.S. National Archives - Passport Applications. The history, types, limitations and how to access the microfilms of registers and indexes are included.
So what unique and interesting information can be found in a U.S. passport application from the collection of 1795 - 1925?
- Name of applicant
- Birth date or age
- Date of application or issuance of passport
- Marital status
- Father’s or husband’s name
- Father’s or husband’s birth date or age
- Father’s or husband’s birthplace
- Father’s or husband’s residence
- Wife's name
- Date of immigration
- Date of naturalization and where and what court
- Ship information
- Possible information about children and other relatives
- Current residence and length of residency
- Destination and reason for travel
- Physical description - with no photograph, this may be the only hint of what they looked like
- Photograph - this is a huge bonus as these applications provided the only photograph that I have of some ancestors. Low quality, but better than nothing.
In microfilm form, they are available from NARA and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
Online, check out:
FamilySearch - free
- U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
- Connecticut, Passport and Birth Certificates, 1852-1928
- U.S. Consular Posts, Emergency Passport Applications, 1915-1926
- Hawaii, Passport Records, 1849-1850, 1874-1900
Here is an example of an application from 1921 for one of my ancestors:
As you can see there is a ton of information that can be exceedingly helpful to you.
Now on to Nazi Germany. I had about a half dozen ancestors who escaped, and unfortunately three who didn't. The fortunate ones went to Shanghai, America, Palestine, and England.
In this passport, the following information is presented:
- Maiden Name
- Religion - notice the red "J" which is self explanatory
- Birth location
- Birth date
- Place of residence
- Body type
- Face shape
- Eye color
- Hair color
- Distinguishing marks
So research your ancestor's passports and passport applications. Lots of wonderful information awaits you.