Immigration Passenger Lists Post 4 ~ Markings in the Name Column

(Notes from a study group I attended)

When you see an annotation in the name column you would assume it always referred to the immigrants name. Many do, but many do not relate to the name directly. Sometimes the name may need to be corrected but there are times information is recorded there that refers to a question that the immigrant inquired about himself.

Before 1924 there weren't any "Reentry Permits." So if an immigrant wanted to travel abroad, there wasn't any guarantee that he would be able to get back in this country. The immigrants would call the Immigration Service to try to receive a letter, pass or some sort of a guarantee they could reenter this country. When you see a "V/L" or " V L" annotated on a manifest, this refers to verification of landing. Sometimes there may be numbers following these letters and they refer to where the actual letters, requests, were filed. These files however no longer exist.

These notations are very informative as we will then know that the immigrant may be on another passenger list, the trip back to the U.S.

After July 1, 1924 when an immigrant wanted to make a trip out of the country and wanted to be allowed back into the country, they could apply for a permit. In this application the original port needed to be named along with the date and ship the immigrant arrived on. This was used for verification purposes. After paying a fee and waiting for the verification process, the immigrant hoped the verification came before they departed. During the verification process the clerk would either mark the passenger with a "P" or "Permit". Sometimes you may actually see a city listed stating where the applications took place.

Clarifying or correcting names helped to confuse those of us who look at the manifests and try to make heads or tails of them. Sometimes the name correction would be written directly above the name, or beside the name. Other times the name only may be crossed out and the correction entered. Usually when a name was crossed out it was due to a standard bureaucratic procedure. Many times immigrants had difficulty when applying for naturalization and the name didn't match the name on the immigration passenger list. If there was an error on the manifest the person could apply to have it fixed, and once approved a government clerk would correct the record. This meant crossing out the name and writing in the new one. Rare cases may show a date added also.

(This study group followed the article "A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations" by Marion L. Smith, Historian, U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Service. With assistance of Elise Freedman, Flora Gursky and Eleanor Bien.)

Thank you for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!



  1. This is good information to know about the passenger lists, Msteri. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The information has helped me with the passenger lists I have of my family from Sweden. I have names crossed out, lines crossed out and messes I can't even read! Thank you for the comment, hope the information helps you and others somewhere along the way as it has helped me!


  3. Good tips! Thanks for passing on what you've learned. So much is easily overlooked on records like these.

    Small-leaved Shamrock
    A light that shines again
    100 Years in America

  4. Hi Lisa!

    Sometimes when we don't use records for awhile we can also forget some of these "tips", so hopefully they are reminders too! Thank you for the comment!


  5. Hi Msteri -

    You might be interested in reading my newest passenger list mystery. Visit Ferencz Ujlaki and the trip he didn't take for details.



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