|Example of a Ship Passenger List|
Some of the free databases are ship passenger lists, border crossings, passport applications, and naturalization records. The link to the free databases is Free Immigration and Travel Records.
From this link you can also get some helpful tips for searching your ancestor's records.
Depending on the year of arrival passenger lists can tell you where your ancestors came from as well as a specific destination. I have even found names of relatives in the destination fields. Names of everyone in the family who was on the ship has helped me discover children I did not know existed. Make sure to check the whole list if you find an ancestor because other family members may be on the ship also.
Even if your ancestor was not an immigrant these records can provide information if they ever traveled overseas or crossed borders. Border crossing records can tell you if they ever ventured into Mexico or Canada. I have been surprised to find many of my natural born ancestors did make trips to both of these countries. For me the best part about passport applications is they sometimes include a photograph of the applicant. Even if there is no photo they give birth dates, places of birth and residence and the purpose of the trip.
Who needs a Labor Day picnic when you can spend the holiday researching your ancestors for free! Happy Hunting.