Rochester Passenger Arrivals

If you would have asked me about arrivals at the Port of Rochester last week, I would have said that very few records survive. I do have this one web page of records of arrivals for July – Sept. 1866 but had not heard of any other passenger arrivals. I discovered that FamilySearch has a collection titled New York, Northern Arrival Manifests, 1902-1956. It covers alien arrivals in the ports of Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lewiston, and Rochester, NY. The vast part of this collection is for Buffalo and Niagara Fall. After browsing a few hundred records, it appears that only about 1% of the 850,465 records are for the Port of Rochester.

None of the passenger arrivals are indexed so you have to browse the records. They are arranged in Soundex order. If you aren’t familiar with the Soundex system or like me haven’t used it in many years, then this web page has a good tutorial.

It is probably no surprise that the amount of data on each card varies greatly over time.


Robert Burton tried to enter the U.S. on Jan. 8, 1909 and was rejected for being intoxicated. He came back again on Jan. 15th and this time gained entry. He was a bricklayer and had been in the U.S. since 1907. He may have been working in both Rochester and in Canada.


Siskind Breitman was born in Russia. According to this manifest card, he came to Quebec in March 1911. He then came to Rochester on the SS Argyle in July 1911.


This record for Andres Heilbron is interesting for many reasons. He was born in Columbia and was on his way back there from Montreal, Canada when he came through Rochester. He didn’t come by boat, he came by airplane in 1845. I didn’t expect any of the passenger arrival to be by air. It even states that he was to leave the U.S. through Miami, FL.

I found another record of a lady that was rejected in 1921. The reason that she was rejected was that she had no bag. They probably expected her to become a welfare case.

I also saw a person coming through Niagara Falls and another through Buffalo that were heading to Rochester. So if you suspect your family coming to Rochester through Canada then it might be worth your time to search these passenger arrivals.