This data is provided in partnership with JewishGen.org.
In the port cities on the east coast of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century, many charitable organizations aided immigrants arriving from Europe. The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) was one of those organizations. There were "ethnic" or "immigrant" banks in many port cities, usually conveniently located in the Jewish neighborhoods where newly-arrived immigrants tended to settle. These banks were commercial enterprises, started mainly by established German Jews, as a place where recent immigrants could save money and arrange to purchase steamship tickets to bring their families to the United States. HIAS preserved the original records of some immigrant banks formerly operating in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Blitzstein, Rosenbaum and Lipshutz/Peoples Banks.
Today, the record books of the Blitzstein Bank, Rosenbaum Bank, and Lipshutz Bank are housed at the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center (PJAC). They offer unique kinds of information, including the name and U.S. address of the person who paid for the tickets, port of entry - usually, but not always the port of Philadelphia – and intended final destination (again, not necessarily Philadelphia).
About the Records:
There are approximately 23,690 records from the Lipshutz Bank, covering the following years. The records in the earlier years (up through 1930~1935) were mainly purchased for immigration. In the later records, many are for travelers who used the "Bank" to purchase tickets for cruises, other vacations of many kinds, and train travel within the US.
- Date - the date an account was opened to save money, or an order was placed, or tickets purchased
- Order Number - Assigned by bank
- Name and age of passenger(s)
- Where the passenger is coming from (possibly name, street address, town, country of original home)
- Ports of embarkation and of arrival
- Names of ship and ship line
- Name and address of ticket purchaser
- Remarks - often there is additional information about the passenger and/or the purchaser.
|1909||only 3 records|
|1915||Jan-Feb, Jun, Aug-Dec|
|1942||only 4 records|
|1944||only 6 records|
|1945||only 6 records|
|1948||only 1 record|
|1949||only 1 record|
Information you are likely to find:
The records were indexed by the bank itself on 3" x 5" cards. Both the records and the index are housed at PJAC. There are approximately 18,000 cards with information on 30,912 passengers.
Book Numbers cover the following date spans. The date of the record probably refers to the date the savings account was opened or a ticket purchased, perhaps several weeks or months before the passengers arrived. There is no Book #1.
|2||Jun 1899-Apr 1902|
|3||Apr 1902-Dec 1903|
|4||Dec 1903-Nov 1904|
|5||Nov 1904-Jan 1906|
|6||Jan 1906-Aug 1906|
|7||Aug 1906-Oct 1907|
|8||Oct 1907-Dec 1909|
|9||Dec 1909-Jan 1911|
|10||Jun 1911-Jan 1913|
|11||Jan 1913- Feb 1914|
|12||Feb 1914-Dec 1921|
|13||Dec 1921-Dec 1930|
There are four fields: Surname, Given Name, Book Number, and Page Number.
There are approximately 83,000 records, covering the following years:
Although there may be records for January through December in the later years, in fact, there may only be a few for some months.
The index contains only three fields: date of the transaction, passengers’ names, and purchasers’ names.
Using the Database:
You will need to know the name of an immigrant passenger and/or the name of a purchaser. If a ticket was purchased for that immigrant from one of the banks, your search will identify that passenger and associate the passenger’s name with a date or book and page number. Likewise, your search on the name of a purchaser will also lead to a date if the purchaser, already living in the U.S., used the bank to purchase a ticket for an immigrant. Many of the names listed as purchasers are actually employees of or agents for the Bank.
You should then either visit the Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center or contact PJAC with this information and request a copy of the record.
In addition, these records are available through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, which has microfilmed the entire Blitzstein, Rosenbaum and Lipshutz/Peoples Bank record collections.