Passport Applications

On a whim I started searching’s collection of U.S. passport applications for some of my more recent surnames. I got a few hits and was surprised to learn that…

There is a copy of the passport photo that was scanned with the application:

William Ford Gibbons (1864-1929)

William Ford Gibbons (1864-1929)

That the applications include a physical description of the applicant:

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 10.39.43 AM


That a wife could be added to her husband’s passport with a simple signed letter and a photo:

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 10.40.49 AM


William Ford Gibbons married Anna Laurence Gibbons later in life. He remained single and lived with his mother at least up until the 1920 census, when he was 56 years old. His mother died in 1922 and he married Anna (then 32 years old) in 1924. I think that’s what the text under her picture indicates – “married in Tampa… 10th 1924”.

Family stories indicate that William was a favored uncle who doted on his nieces and nephews. He supposedly traveled a lot and brought exotic gifts back to his extended family. Then he married Anna (who I believe was previously widowed) and when William died his entire fortune was left to his wife of 5 years. Needless to say, some of those nieces and nephews were upset.



4 thoughts on “Passport Applications

  1. Thanks for this great tip! Thanks to your suggestion this morning I tried trolling the passport applications too — found my great-grandfather’s application in preparation for his wedding trip to Europe with his bride. Now I know from which side of the family their children’s blue eyes came from — and his home address at the time. Thanks so much — keep up the posts!

  2. Pingback: Researching your family tree: How to get started | Off the Merry-Go-Round

  3. I too came upon a passport application of a great aunt living in Seattle who was applying to go back to Japan as her mother was ill. The information on the application form is very detailed and of course it alerted me to the date when my great great grandmother had died. Magic

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