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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
· Obtaining copies of full entries
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

Background

During the immigration boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, various agencies including private community and state run banks sold steamship tickets to immigrants and their families, arranging for passage to and from America. Many of the private banks selling steamship tickets were referred to as immigrant banks and catered to specific immigrant communities and the neighborhoods they lived. Although steamship agents and immigrant banks in Philadelphia were plentiful, few records of their activities are known to have survived with the exception of four steamship agents who primarily served the Eastern European Jewish population. These four steamship agents--M. L. Blitzstein and Co., M. Rosenbaum and Co., Peoples Bank and Trust Company, and Rosenbluth Brothers--recorded the sale of tickets purchased by their customers in ledgers listing the sales transactions.

Unlike passenger lists which document an immigrant's entry into port, these ledgers record details about the purchase such as the name of the ticket purchaser, the individual(s) for whom tickets were purchased, the name of the steamship line, fees, and travel itinerary. These details reveal information about the passengers, the family members who were arranging passage, and the associated costs of travel. In 1951, HIAS and Council Migration Service of Philadelphia, formerly the Association for the Protection of Jewish Immigrants, an organization dedicated to providing legal and supportive services to immigrants and refugees acquired the steamship ticket purchase ledgers. HIAS Philadelphia utilized these ledgers to verify immigration information when assisting individuals with the naturalization process or facilitating passage for family members seeking asylum. From 1977 to 2009, the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC) administered the collection of steamship ticket purchase ledgers. In June 2009, Temple University Libraries acquired HIAS Philadelphia's archived records and the collection of ledgers. Indexes to the ledgers from three of Philadelphia’s steamship agents are available as searchable databases on JewishGen.

Using the Index

The Peoples index contains four fields of information for an entry: date of the transaction, order number, passenger's name, and purchaser's name.

You will need to know the name of a passenger and/or the name of a ticket purchaser to search the index. If a ticket was purchased from Peoples Bank and Trust Company, 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 the date and order number associated with a ticket purchase transaction.

LDS Microfilms: In addition, microfilm copies of the ledgers are accessible through the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library. 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.

Obtaining Copies of Full Entries

The SCRC has digitized all of the steamship ticket purchase ledgers in their collection and make them freely accessible online. The digital collection of ledgers is accessible through the following link:
Steamship Ticket Purchase Ledgers digital collection
http://digital.library.temple.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16002coll16
Reference requests for copies of entries from ledgers not yet accessible in the digital collection may be submitted to SCRC reference staff.

SCRC Contact Information

Special Collections Research Center Address: Paley Library, Temple University, 1210 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122 Website: http://library.temple.edu/scrc
Phone: (215) 204-8257 Email: scrc@temple.edu

Acknowledgements

JewishGen, 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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Last Update: 20 Nov 2017   Avraham Groll
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