USA passport research #usa

Shelly Crane

I'm trying to locate the passport application on my relative Jack (Jacob) Shiffman.   There are several sources for finding passport applications prior to 1926.  The one I want was issued at a later date, presumably in Michigan.  Any suggestions?  He was born in the US. 
Received Passport# 420691 on May 21, 1937 which listed his address as 206 East Alexandria, Detroit, Michigan; Sailed June 12, 1937
Thank you! Shelly Levin,  Northern California

Barbara Ellman

Passport applications after 1925 are subject to the Privacy act of 1974.   The Privacy Act allows you to obtain copies of your records, your minor child, any person for whom you are a legal guardian, or any person who has authorized you to obtain them.  
Details are located at

Barbara Ellman

Barbara Ellman
Secaucus NJ USA
ELLMAN, COIRA, MAIDMAN - Minkovtsy, Ukraine
KAGLE, FASS - Ulanow, Poland

Molly Staub

Hi All, 

My paternal grandfather Einoch Harast arrived in New York (heading to Philadelphia) in 1907. HIAS located him as entering Great Britain in 1917, name now became Emil Harost,  because his father in Russia was dying. I know he wouldn't have needed a passport to come to the U.S., but wouldn't he have needed one to return to Russia? I've looked but can't seem to find one. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Molly Arost Staub

Harast/Arost,  Shtofman, Berenson, Groffman/Graffman


I don't know where to search for passport information, but I have a copy of my great grandfather's passport issued in the mid-1890s in Russia.  For that reason, I think you are correct that he would have needed a passport to enter Russia. On the other hand, 1917 is the year of the Russian revolution, so it's possible that passports were not check as carefully or that there were ways to enter without one. 
Barbara Sloan
Conway, SC

Sherri Bobish

Hi Molly,

This NARA page has detailed info on U.S. passport history and regulations.

From the above site:
  • Passports were recommended, but not required, by President Woodrow Wilson's Executive Order 2285 of December 15, 1915, which stated that all persons leaving the U.S. should have passports.
  • Passports were required from May 22, 1918 (40 Stat. 559), until the formal termination of World War I in 1921 by treaties.
  • Passports have been required since the passage of the act of June 21, 1941 (55 Stat. 252) and subsequent legislation.

Interestingly, there were brief periods in time when someone who was not yet a U.S. citizen, but had declared their intent, could obtain a U.S. passport.

Hope this info helps,

Sherri Bobish
Princeton, NJ

Sherri Bobish

Hi Barbara,

United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925


Sherri Bobish
Princeton, NJ