The F.Å.A. Line's Passenger Lists
Search from the passenger lists]
In 1892 the authorities decided that ships should have passenger lists. Most of
F.Å.A.'s passenger lists have survived and are being held by the manuscript collection of
the Library of Åbo Akademi, the Swedish-language university. The collection totals 145
folio-sized bound books. It is difficult to say whether there are volumes missing, since
the lists have been arranged by the shipping company used by the passengers, which puts
the pages out of numerical order. From the F.Å.A. point of view, the lists are actually
ledgers of some kind, which have obviously been used for calculation of commission
payments from ocean lines and similar purposes. There are numerous deletions and
cancellations on the lists, remarks concerning no-shows, extra charges, comments on
passengers not accepted on the grounds of a disease etc.
The passenger lists are of third class passengers, that is, emigrants. First and second
class passengers can be found on the lists if a third class passenger paid an extra charge
to be able to travel more comfortably. Comparison of numbers of passengers on the lists
and in the Hangö Tidning newspaper, reporting regularly on the passenger figures
of incoming and outgoing ships, shows that the figures given by the newspaper and those
given by the list seldom agree. The difference can be either way. The newspaper sometimes
reports more passengers than the list, sometimes fewer. The discrepancy may be dozens of
passengers. There are also cases of the paper reporting on passengers of a given departure
or arrival, but the corresponding passenger list is missing. The same passengers are
recorded more than once even though they took the same boat from Hanko. For example the
passengers of 4 October and 5 October departures of S/S Polaris are listed in 12
different places. Therefore it is all but impossible to make a reliable count of the
number of passengers on any one departure.
The passenger lists also record emigrants travelling on the route Turku - Copenhagen -
Hull, the presence of whom cannot be explained. Probably the ship leaving from Hanko was
full, and some of the passengers were rerouted by way of Turku. At open water, boats to
Hull departed not only from Hanko but also from Helsinki or Turku as late as 1914.
Passenger lists mainly contain the following types of information:
- name of the passenger
- gender and age of the passenger
- date of departure from Finland
- name of the boat leaving Finland
- name of the English/Danish/German etc. shipping company
- port of call in England (data often missing)
- port of arrival in America
- date of departure from England/Denmark/Germany etc.
- name of boat from Denmark/Germany etc. (data starts from 1901/1902)
- ticket price
- place of departure (as shown on ticket)
- destination (as shown on ticket)
- type of ticket (prepaid, paid for cash etc.)
- name of agent selling ticket
- domicile (data often missing)
- class of travel (almost always third)
- accompanied by (data often missing)
How to Use Passenger Lists when Looking for Emigrants to America
Do not expect too much from passenger lists when looking for emigrants from Finland:
- Did the person really emigrate? There are cases of people disappearing from church
records, census lists and other sources and nobody knows where they went. If somebody is
found on a passenger list, you at least know where to continue the search.
- When did the person emigrate? Church records often have remarks such as 'Amerikassa' (in
America) or 'Amerikkaan 1893' (to America in 1893). Passenger lists then give the day and
- Who was the person accompanied by? Travelling company may give a clue if somebody is
hard to find in America. A family often used the same ticket for the voyage, while friends
and people from the same village had their own tickets. Of course, group travel was common
and the members of a group often had their names one after another or near another on the
passenger lists. By looking for some other passenger you may find 'your' person.
- Where did the person settle in America? Passenger lists are silent on this. On the other
hand, you will find the destination of the ticket. Often it is the place of residence as
well, but research has shown that some 60 % of emigrants soon moved to another place.
- Can you find more information at the port of arrival in America? No, since the
information given by surviving documents produced there is minimal. The passengers who
went ashore were registered, but the records contain very much the same information as
F.Å.A.'s passenger lists. If the person emigrated from Finland, but does not appear on
passenger lists, important information may be found on the documents of the port of
- Are F.Å.A.'s passenger lists any help when looking for persons on port-of-call lists in
England? Such lists are very rare and normally contain only the name of the passenger.
Surviving lists have been kept for a special reason; for example, the passenger lists of S/S
Titanic have been preserved.
The following information on the passenger lists is important if a person living in
America is searching for his/her roots in Finland:
- Domicile (Kotipaikka). This is the most important item on the list.
Unfortunately, domicile has been given for some of the passengers only.
- Start of trip (Matkan alku) refers to the place from which the ticket was valid.
If no domicile has been entered, the place where the ticket was bought may be very
important. The majority of passengers bought their tickets in Hanko, so it is not possible
to use this information for finding the domicile of the passenger.
- Name of the agent (Agentin nimi). Sometimes information on the agent who sold the
ticket may give a clue to the region in Finland where the person lived. Since there are no
lists of agents, you will have to find newspaper advertisements by the F.Å.A. in order to
find out where the agent worked.
- Date (Lähtöpäivä). Sometimes a person's date of departure is unknown. It
might be needed for identification of the person on passport journals giving information
on applicant's domicile, etc. The date of departure from Hanko is always recorded.
- Accompanied by (Samalla lipulla) Who did the person travel with? If a person's
domicile is hard to find, the persons he/she travelled with may give a clue. A family
often used the same ticket for the voyage, while friends and people from the same village
had their own tickets. Of course, group travel was common and the members of a group often
had their names one after another or near another on the passenger lists. By looking for
some other passenger you may find 'your' person.
- General information. Very often Americans want to find out the name of the ship
on which the ancestor came to America and the route used. This is essential information
when attempting to form a picture of a person's life on the basis of the scanty sources
available in America.
F.Å.A.'s passenger lists held by the Library of Åbo Akademi are numbered
consecutively 1-145. However, the numbering is not logical. The books are not in
chronological order, nor are they arranged by the name of the shipping company. Some of
the books have an older numbering, while others have no numbering at all. Of the series
held, only 'White Star 1-28' and 'Cunard 1-31' are in a logical and chronological order.
Apart from those, there is a numbered series consisting of 53 volumes, called here the
'Numbered Series', which contains lists from a large number of companies. The series here
called the 'Unnumbered Series' is as motley as the 'numbered series'. Why some of the
books are numbered while others are not is unknown. In 1931 all the books were replaced
with a series here called the 'New Series'.
Apart from Finns, the volumes record thousands of Russians, a number of Estonians,
Latvians and Livonians. Many of the Russians have Jewish names, but even German names are
common. To some extent there are separate books, but even books mainly recording Finnish
emigrants contain such names. It is unclear wheher all Russian emigrants travelled by way
of Hanko, since F.Å.A. boats carried Russian emigrants from Libau to Hull without calling
at a Finnish port. Three or four times the F.Å.A. carried several hundred Russsian
marines to Philadelphia, U.S. There was at least one voyage by an F.Å.A. boat directly to
Philadelphia without a call at England.
When World War I broke out in July 1914, traffic between Hanko and Hull stopped. It was
started again in summer 1919 by S/S Arcturus and S/S Astrea, but passenger
lists were only kept starting from February 1920. Is is unclear whether the books are
missing or whether no passengers were actually carried. There was a similar break in
traffic when war broke out in September 1939. A few tickets were sold during the years
1940-41, but regulat traffic was not started until 1946. Copenhagen, London and Antwerp
were now the destinations. F.Å.A. boats did not call at Hull after the war.
Links to web pages containing rough summaries of the contents of passenger lists:
|White Star Line
||The lists start from 25 June 1892 and end on 27 May 1931.
Total 28 books.
||Also contains information on other shipping companies.
||Starts from 25 April 1896 and ends on 6 June 1931. Total 31 books.
||Also contains information on other shipping companies.
||The lists start from 10 June 1893 and end on 18 February
1931. Total 53 books. Number 47 missing, but may be included in the 'Unnumbered Series'.
The order of the books is only partially logical.
||The lists start from 26 August 1899 and end on 20 May 1931.
The order of the book is illogical.
||The lists start from 3 June 1931 and end in October 1976.
||The lists start from 3 June 1931 and end in October 1976.
Indexes to Passenger Lists
The Institute of Migration has computerized most of F.Å.A.'s passenger
lists. The database is accessible on the Internet.
When making searches in the databes or when ordering an extract from the Institute of Migration please note that:
- Not all passengers have been fed into the computer. If a name has been deleted,
it is not in the database. A deletion may be due to a variety of causes. Some of the
passengers have cancelled a trip, while other cancellations were obviously made during a
recalculation made by the shipping company.
- Those that did not pass the medical examination. Some of the passengers were
included in the lists, but later failed the medical examination. These people have been
omitted from the database. Some travelled anyhow and there may be a comment against their
name 'matkusti omalla vastuulla' (Travels at his/her own risk). This comment is likely not
to be included in the database.
- Name of the agent has been systematically omitted from the database. Omission of
this vital information means that it is impossible to find the domicile of the emigrant
through the agent.
- Number of the ticket has been systematically omitted from the database. It is not
possible to check whether the ticket was paid for in cash or prepaid.
- Class of travel has been omitted from the database. Most of the emigrants
travelled in the third class, but a few paid extra in order to be able to travel the whole
voyage or part of it in the second class.
- Extra charges have been systematically omitted from the database. It was quite
common that passengers with prepaid tickets paid extra charges.
- Several persons on same ticket. If more than one person used the same ticket, the
price of the ticket was divided between them. The resultant figures may be incorrect.
- Incorrect date. If the time lag between departures from Finland and from England
seems unexpectedly long, the person who fed the data into the computer may have forgotten
to change the data in the inputting program. The time lag should be between three and 14
- Comments. Passenger lists contain numerous comments made when entering the names
on the list or afterwards in connection with correspondence with the shipping company etc.
These comments have mainly been omitted.
When the person searched for is found in the database, do not forget to check the
information in the original document. If the person cannot be found, you cannot be sure
whether this is due to one of the above mistakes during the inputting, to systematic
omission, or to the fact that the person is actually missing from the passenger lists.
Always request a copy of the original document when you buy an extract from the