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The Lipshutz/Peoples Bank Passage Order Book Records Database

for the Port of Philadelphia and Other US East Coast Ports

Compiled by the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center and Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia

· Background
· Using the Database
· The Lipshutz/Peoples Bank Records
· Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

Background

In the port cities on the east coast of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, many charitable organizations aided immigrants arriving from Europe.   The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was one of those organizations.   The port cities also offered so-called “ethnic” or “immigrant” banks, conveniently located in Jewish neighborhoods where newly-arrived immigrants tended to settle.  These banks were commercial enterprises, started mainly by established German Jews, as a place where recent immigrants could save money and arrange to purchase steamship tickets to bring their families to the US.  In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, HIAS preserved the original records of four immigrant banks formerly operating in the city.   To our knowledge, no other such records have survived, either in Philadelphia or in any of the other port cities.

Today, the record books of the Blitzstein Bank, Rosenbaum Bank, Rosenbluth Bank and Lipshutz Bank are housed at the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC).  They offer unique kinds of information, including the name and US address of the person who paid for the tickets, port of entry - usually, but not always the port of Philadelphia – and intended final destination (again, not necessarily Philadelphia).

Through the collaboration of PJAC, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGSGP) and JewishGen, all four of the banks’ records are to be indexed, and eventually, all the indices will be available as searchable databases on JewishGen.  The Blitzstein Bank records have been indexed and a searchable database of these records has been online since early 2004.  Now the second Immigrant Bank collection is also available.

There are a total of 25,112 records in the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank collection, covering the years 1906 through 1949.  The records in the earlier years (up through 1930~1935) were mainly purchased for immigration.  In the later records, many are for travelers who used the "Bank" to purchase tickets for cruises, other vacations of many kinds, and train travel within the US.  There is also some evidence of airplane travel in the 1940s.  There are still a few immigration records in these later years.  For those tickets purchased for reasons other than immigration, some interesting tidbits about family can still be discovered, as some of the records for cruises, etc., contain other family information — addresses, names of relatives, passport numbers, etc.

Using the Database

You will need to know the name of an immigrant passenger and/or the name of the purchaser.  If a ticket was purchased for that immigrant from the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank, your search will identify that passenger and associate the passenger’s name with an Order Number and a date if that person, already living in the U.S., used the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank to purchase a ticket for an immigrant.

You should then either visit the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center or contact PJAC with this information and request a copy of the record (See ordering instructions below).  The Archives’ phone number, mailing address, email address and website are listed below.

If you visit, the collections of PJAC are available by appointment only.  Please call or write PJAC in advance and they will schedule a research visit Monday through Friday during normal operating hours.  There is no charge for onsite research.

If you write for a copy of a record, the staff at PJAC will make a copy and send it to you for a fee of $18 per name.  See instructions below.

LDS Microfilms: In addition, these records are available through the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library, which has microfilmed the entire Lipshutz/Peoples Bank record collection onto eight reels of microfilm.  The title is: "Prepaid Steamship Ticket Record, 1906-1948".  The eight microfilm reels for the books are:

Order
Numbers
Dates LDS
Microfilm #
Comments
101-868
15992-17796
1-120, 1437-11637
4161-5382
1906-1908
1920-1923
1909-1913
1910-1912
#1,550,633  
5383-16022
1-1101
1911-1920
1919-1923
#1,550,634  
7793-18941 May 1923-Dec 1926 #1,550,631  
18942-19863 Jan 1927-Dec 1931 #1,550,632  
17793-18361 May 1923-Dec 1924 #1,026,296 Overlap previous records. Filmed backwards.
18362-19363 Feb 1924-Dec 1928 #1,026,397 Overlap previous records. Filmed backwards.
19364-20361 Jan 1929-Dec 1936 #1,026,298  
20362-20822 Jan 1937-Dec 1948 #1,026,299 Also Index 1923-1948

The Lipshutz/Peoples Bank Records

The Lipshutz index offers more information online than the Blitzstein database, including the date of the transaction, the Order Number, the passengers' names, and the purchasers' names.  There are approximately 23,690 records, covering the following years:

Year Dates
1907January through October
1909November - 1 entry; December - 2 entries
1910January through December
1911January through December
1912January through December
1913January through December
1914January through October
1915January, February, June, August - December
1916January - May, October - December
1917January, February, March
1918July
1919April - December
1920 - 1941Full Years; January - December
1942Only 4 records
1943No records
1944Only 6 records
1945Only 6 records
194670 records
194719 records
1948Only 1 record
1949Only 1 record

The information in the books is in two different formats.  The earlier years are handwritten record books.  For most of the later years, there are Order Forms, generally typewritten.  Generally, both formats contain similar information.  A good portion of the handwriting was difficult to read.  Many names were spelled as they were in Europe.  We made every effort to get the correct name, or as close as possible.

The records that do not have purchaser information seem to be people leaving the U.S. on cruises and/or returning to Europe.  The date of the record may refer to the date an account was opened, or an order was placed, or a ticket purchased, perhaps several weeks or months before the passengers arrived.

Many of the Lipshutz/Peoples ticket orders are marked "Cancelled."  Among the possible reasons for cancellation: the prospective immigrant decided not to make the trip or became unable, or the purchaser could not make the necessary payments or was not willing to sign a required affidavit assuming financial responsibility for the immigrant, or the account was transferred to another bank, etc.  The database includes all information recorded for cancelled as well as for completed orders.

Information you are likely to find:

  • Date - the date an account was opened to save money, or an order was placed, or tickets purchased
  • Order Number - Assigned by bank
  • Name and age of passenger(s)
  • Where the passenger is coming from (possibly name, street address, town, country of original home)
  • Ports of embarkation and of arrival
  • Names of ship and ship line
  • Name and address of ticket purchaser
  • Remarks - often there is additional information about the passenger and/or the purchaser.

To Order a Lipshutz/Peoples Bank Record from the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center

There are two options:

Option A: If you would like to only order copies of Lipshutz/Peoples Bank records using the index information in this database, you must write to PJAC (no emails or phone calls please) and provide the following:

  • Write “LIPSHUTZ/PEOPLES BANK RECORDS” at the top of your request
  • Your full name
  • Your full mailing address
  • Your email address
  • For each record you would like, copy the following information from the Index:
    • Surname (Passenger and/or Purchasers)
    • Given Name (Passenger and/or Purchasers)
    • Order Number
    • Date
  • A US$ check or money order for $18 per name (Surname and Given Name) made payable to "Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center".

Option B: If you would like PJAC to search their HIAS Genealogical collection (see http://library.temple.edu/collections/pjac/?option=genealogy) for a name (Surname and Given Name) including the Lipshutz/Peoples Bank collection, please use the form on the PJAC website.  The fee for this more comprehensive service is $18 per name.

Philadelphia Jewish Archives - Contact Information

Website: http://library.temple.edu/collections/pjac/

Address: Temple University, Urban Archives, Paley Library, 1210 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Phone: (215) 204-8257 (Archivists Donald Davis and Eric Greenberg)

Email: pjac@temple.edu

Acknowledgements

The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC) and Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGSGP) would like to thank the following people for their extraordinary dedication in indexing the Blitzstein Bank records.  Without their hard work, this database would not be available to the public.

JGSGP: Selma Neubauer, Project Leader, Eileen Bobman, Deborah Glassman, Joan Gross, Joan Rosen, and Steve Schechter.

PJAC: Donald Davis, Archivist, and Eric Greenberg, Associate Archivist.


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