If your ancestors ever had a passport from the United States you will want to see if the passport application is available through the free FamilySearch.org site. The available passports information / images on the site from the United States is over 3 million. The years covered are 1795-1925, many decades worth.
Early passport forms in 1790s into the first half of the 1800s did not have as much information as the later passports, some of which even had physical descriptions of the person and even later included a photo of the individual.
The passports would be for those residents who were U. S. citizens, either born or naturalized. So if an ancestor came from another country to live in the United States and had not become a citizen then a US passport would not be issued.
Some of the listings have just an index of information, others have the transcript of information along with a scanned image of the actual passport application. If there is an icon of a camera next to the name then there is a scanned images to view.
Note and read all the information on an application, spouses’ names, birth place and date for the individual will be listed along with their residence and occupation. Some even have where they are traveling to and for how long. Example is Noah Bixler on his 1905 application, he was to be out of the country for two years. This really helps if you lost track of an ancestor, this would explain why.
On FamilySearch.org site with these U.S. Passports, most are from the early 20th century, especially from 1900 to 1925 when the application was completed. Even if you are not sure if a relative applied for a passport – check anyway. If the surname is unusual, just search the family name without a given name, could find relatives you didn’t realize you had.
Photos: 1924-Anne W. Kershaw with a photo, 1905 Noah Bixler, 1923-Axel Whilheim Junlin with photo.
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