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How to Search United States Passport Records


Have you ever wondered if your ancestors traveled? If they did, they may have applied for a passport. A passport was not mandatory in the United States for travel outside the country until 1941, except for in short periods during the Civil War and World War I. However, the United States issued passports as early as 1789.

Most early passport applications were filed by men. If a man was going to be accompanied by his wife, children, servants, or other females, then their names, ages, and relationships would be added to the passport application and the record of the man. Similarly, if a child traveled with only his or her mother, the child’s name and age would be included on the mother’s passport. 

US Passport records are a great source of genealogical information, and you may be surprised at just how many of your ancestors applied for one.