Genealogy is a fascinating topic and a popular hobby. If your ancestors were travelers, one way to find out about them is to look up their old passport applications, if you can. In 2007, Ancestry.com released a collection of US passport application forms from 1795 to 1925.
What can your ancestor’s US passport application forms tell you about them? Lots! Applications generally included biographical data like names and birthdates, and more personal information like occupations and physical descriptions, plus information about the applicant’s foreign travel plans. Starting in 1914, passport applicants also submitted photos of themselves.
US passport applications from that far back often seem quite humorous today. For example, one Ancestry Magazine staffer found a copy of her great-grandfather’s passport that described her grandfather as having a “large” nose and a “common” face. You can read her amusing account of her find here.
However, according to this Ancestry.com blog post, if you’re looking for a female relative before the ’20s, you may need to look under her husband’s name. That’s because before the 20’s, most women simply traveled on their husband’s passport, and men filled 95% of US passport applications. However, by 1923, women were applying for passports in their own names, and up to 40% of the applicants were female.
Do you have a passport? What will your descendants learn about you from the application?
If you need a passport in a hurry, RushMyPassport.com can greatly speed up the application process for you. We’ll help you with the paperwork and then submit your application by hand to the Department of State, resulting in processing times as fast as 24 hours.