Discover your inside story. Save 20% on Ancestry DNA April 21-26

February 24, 2004

Ellis Island and Missing Manifests

© Lorine McGinnis Schulze

Ellis Island existed as a processing station for Immigrants entering New York from 1 Jan. 1892 to 14 june 1897 and again from 17 Dec. 1900 to 1924. From 15 June 1897 to 16 Dec. 1900 the processing station was the Barge Office. Luckily for those whose ancestors entered through Ellis Island, there is an online searchable database. Read on for some tips on using this database and finding an ancestor!

Help! I keep getting the wrong passenger list on the Ellis Island database! How do I see the right passenger list??


I search for Theo Davis sailing in 1893. Bingo! A hit! But there's a problen.... the text version shows Theo H. Davis on line 0033 ; when I go into the scanned manifest, it also indicates that he is on line 0033. However, when I click on the icon to magnify the scanned manifest, there are two entirely different people on these lines; in looking at the text manifest, none of the people listed on the text manifest are the same as the people with the corresponding numbers on the scanned manifest.

Lorine's Answer:
This is one of the missing manifests on the Ellis Island database.
You can see from the online manifest that the one that is linked is for the Germanic. According to the text version and the index entry your Theo H Davis sailed on the Teutonic on March 2, 1893. That means this is one of many manifests on Ellis Island Database that is linked incorrectly.

Your next step is to go to Steve Morse's One-Step Ellis Island Search Engine at

Choose MISSING MANIFESTS. Let the page load.

Type in your desired date (Mar 2, 1893) A Reel no. automatically comes up and you are on Frame 1. You can see that this reel goes from Frame 1-756. Look back at the date you entered - it has, in this case, *changed* to Feb 13, 1893 so you know that this reel begins with that date (Feb 13, 1893)

Okay, type in the page number given for Theo (50) in the FRAME field. Hit DISPLAY. You will quickly see that the *wrong* manifest comes up. Now you have the fun of playing around with the frame numbers til you find the date/ship you want.

Ships are on the reel in chronological order, think of this as scrolling through a microfilm reel only you can do it in the comfort of your home.

I put in 500 as the frame I wanted to see next. It's a guessing game, start with anything you think reasonable, you are looking for the first page of ANY ship, for that will give you a date and ship name. From there you will jump AHEAD or go BACK til you are at the date you want.

500 takes you to La Bretagne sailing on 6 March 1893. Close but no cigar... so let's try frame 400. Try it. It takes you to SS Saratoga sailing on 1 March 1893. Getting closer, now you know you have to work *forward* between frames 400 and 500 for your ship. One more from me and then you're on your own - I tried frame 450 and got London sailing on March 3!

Now you know you need to start at frame 450 and work your way in both directions til you find the ship Teutonic.

Have fun! And if you are ever looking for other ships to NY and want to try online lists, use these URLs: NARA & FHC film numbers for NY passenger lists after 1820 Passenger Lists to New York all years Search Engine for online Internet Passenger Lists to NY

This question, and Lorine's answer, appeared on the ELLIS-ISLAND-L mailing list ( on Feb. 15, 2004. The person asking was able to find what she wanted by following these instructions. You can do the same thing for any manifest you need to find. Good luck!

Permission granted to distribute this article as long as nothing is changed, and all identifying information and URLs remain. Be sure to include the following footer:

Ellis Island & Missing Manifests, an explanation by Lorine McGinnis Schulze of Olive Tree Genealogy at