Why do you even care about finding your ancestor on a Passenger Ship Manifest?
It can contain some very interesting clues that tell you something about their life at that time, and can help further your search for information about your ancestor. For instance, no one in my family knew that my papou travelled on board a ship with one of his sisters, that he only had $18.00 in his pocket, he was coming to stay with his older brother that had arrived in the United States years earlier, the address where his brother lived, the name of my papou’s village in Greece, and that his mother was listed as the person who sponsored him to come (which allowed me to confirm her name).
For example, each ship manifest in 1904 has the following heading:
LIST OR MANIFEST OF ALIEN IMMIGRANTS FOR THE COMMISSIONER OF IMMIGRATION.
Required by the regulations of the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, under Act of Congress approved March 3, 1893, to be delivered to the Commissioner of Immigration by the Commanding officer of any vessel having such passengers on board upon at a port in the United States.
Each manifest includes columns with the following information:
1. No. on List.
2. Name in Full.
3. Age (Yrs, Mos.).
5. Married or Single.
6. Calling or Occupation.
7. Able to Read / Write.
9. Last Residence.
10. Seaport for landing in the United States.
11. Final destination in the United States (State, City or Town).
12. Welbar having a ticket to such final destination.
13. By whom was passage paid.
14. Whether in possession of money, if so, whether more than $30 and how much if $30 or less.
15. Whether ever before in the United States, and if so, when and where.
16. Whether going to join a relative, and if so, what relative, their name and address.
17. Ever in Priscs or Almshouse or supported by charity. If yes, state which..
18. Whether a Polygamist.
19. Whether under contract express or implied to labor in the United States.
20. Condition of Health, Mental and Physical.
21. Deformed or Crippled, Nature and Cause.