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The Rosenbaum 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 Rosenbaum Bank Records
· Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center
· Acknowledgements
· Search 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.  There were "ethnic" or "immigrant" banks in many port cities, usually conveniently located in the neighborhoods where newly-arrived immigrants tended to settle.  In Philadelphia, 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 United States.  HIAS preserved the original records of some immigrant banks formerly operating in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Blitzstein, Rosenbaum and Lipshutz/Peoples Banks.  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 immigrant banks are housed at the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC).  They offer unique kinds of information, including the name and U.S. 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 Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Philadelphia (JGSGP), PJAC, and JewishGen, the banks’ records have been indexed.  All the indices are now available as searchable databases on JewishGen.

Using the Database

We hope you have been using the online searchable databases for the Blitzstein Bank and Lipshutz/Peoples Bank.  The Rosenbaum Bank index offers less information, i.e. it contains only three fields: the date of the transaction, passengers' names, and purchasers' names.  There are approximately 83,000 records, covering the following years:

  • 1890 — May through December
  • 1891-1900 — January through December
  • 1901 — January through October
  • 1902 — January through October
  • 1903 — January through November
  • 1904 — January through September
  • 1905-1927 — January through December
  • 1928 — January & February

Although there may be records for January through December in the later years, in fact, there may only be a few for some months.

You will need to know the name of an immigrant passenger and/or the name of a purchaser.  If a ticket was purchased for that immigrant from the Rosenbaum Bank, your search will identify that passenger and associate the passenger’s name with a date.  Likewise, your search on the name of a purchaser will also lead to a date if the purchaser, already living in the U.S., used the Rosenbaum Bank to purchase a ticket for an immigrant.  Many of the names listed as purchasers are actually employees of or agents for the Bank.

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 Rosenbaum Bank record collection onto ten reels of microfilm.  The title is: "Rosenbaum Steamship Company (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)".  The ten microfilm reels for the books are:

LDS Microfilm Contents
#1,550,639 Book 1-3 (1890-1894)
#1,550,640 Book 4-7 (1895-1898)
#1,550,641 Book 8 (1899) -- Book 9 (Aug.-Dec. 1900) -- Book 10 (Jan.-Aug. 1900) --
Book 11 p. 1-150, no. 1-1950 (Jan.-Oct. 1901) [continued in book 24]
#1,550,642 Book 12 [p. 1-201], no. 1-2613 (Jan.-Oct. 1902) --
Book 13 [p. 1-251], no. 1-3262 (Jan.-Nov. 1903) [books 12 and 13 continued in book 24]
#1,550,643 Book 14 [p. 1-251], no. 1-3263 (Jan.-Sept. 1904) [continued in book 16] -- Book 15 (1905)
#1,550,644 Book 16 [p. 252-end], no. 3264-end [continuation of book 14] (Sept.-Dec. 1904, Jan. 1906) --
Book 17-18 (1906-1907)
#1,550,645 Book 19 (Dec. 1907-Dec. 1909)
#1,550,646 Book 20 (1910-1911)
#1,550,647 Book 21 (1912-1913)
#1,550,648 Book 22 (1914-1927) --
Book 23 (1926-1934) [includes index 1914-1934 at end] --
Book 24: [continuation of book 11, p. 151-end], no. 1951-2301 (Oct.-Dec. 1901); [continuation of book 12, p. 202-end)], no. 2614-2990 (Nov.-Dec. 1902); [continuation of book 13, p. 252-end], no. 3263-3665 (Nov.-Dec. 1903)

The Rosenbaum Bank Records

The information in the record books is handwritten.  A good portion of the handwriting was difficult to read.  Many names were spelled as they were in Europe.  We made every effort to record the correct names, or as close as possible.  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.  The records that do not have purchaser information seem to be people leaving the U.S. on cruises and/or returning to Europe.

Information you are likely to find:

  • Date — the date an account was opened (to save money, or place an order, or purchase ticket).
  • Order Number — assigned by the 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.

How to order a copy of the full original record from the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center

To order a full Rosenbaum Bank record from PJAC, there are two options:

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

  • Write “ROSENBAUM BANK RECORDS” at the top of your request
  • Print your full name
  • Your full mailing address
  • Your email address
  • For each record you would like, copy the following information from the Index:
    • Surnames (Passengers and/or Purchasers)
    • Given Names (Passengers and/or Purchasers)
    • Date
  • A US$ check or money order for $18 per name (Passenger or Purchaser 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 Rosenbaum 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 (Archivist: Sarah Sherman)

Email: pjac@temple.edu

Acknowledgements

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

JGSGP: Selma Neubauer, Project Leader, Eileen Bobman, Al First, Joan Gross, Harriet Kasow, David Mink, Joan Rosen, Steve Schecter.

PJAC: Donald Davis and Eric Greenberg (former archivists).


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