England Emigration and Immigration

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Immigration into England[edit | edit source]

Crew Lists[edit | edit source]

Passports and Citizenship[edit | edit source]

English Emigrants to America[edit | edit source]

Offices and Archives to Contact[edit | edit source]

The National Archives
Ruskin Avenue, Kew
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU
Guide: Immigration and Immigrants
This office collects records of the British government (such as parliamentary papers) and law courts from 1086 to the present. It is in England but has many Scottish records. You need a reader’s ticket to use its collection.

Finding the Town of Origin in England[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in England, see England Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Immigration and Emigration[edit | edit source]

RMS Cymric.jpg
  • Emigration records are records of people leaving England. Immigration records are records of people entering England.
  • Passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, records of passports issued, lists of transported prisoners, or registers of assistance to emigrate often contain genealogical information.
  • These records may contain the name, age, occupation, destination, place of origin or birthplace, ship, and date of arrival. Names of fellow passengers may help construct family groups or provide hints on place of origin or destination.

Immigration to England[edit | edit source]

  • Until after the Second World War, most people immigrating to England came primarily from continental Europe. Specific immigrant groups include refugees from wars (such as the French Revolution) or from religious persecution (such as Huguenots and Jews).
  • No regular series of arrival records exists before 1836. If your ancestor immigrated to England before 1836, search naturalization and citizenship records. (See "Naturalization and Citizenship".
  • Beginning in 1836, certificates exist for aliens. These are arranged by port, and give the individual’s name, nationality, profession, date arrived, country last visited, and signature.
  • Starting in 1878, there are lists of incoming passengers which give the passenger’s name, birthplace, last residence, and sometimes an address of a relative in the country of origin. However, passengers from Europe or the Mediterranean did not have to be listed. All of these immigration records are at the National Archives in London.
  • Movements within the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland, Isle of Man, and Channel Islands) and to England’s colonies required no documents.

Emigration[edit | edit source]

  • Beginning in 1606, people emigrated from England to countries such as the United States, India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. *Emigration increased after 1815, when it became a means of poor relief.
  • Emigration also increased during gold rushes in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.
  • Emigration from England peaked in the 1880s.
  • There was no systematic, official method of emigrating from England. The following types of emigrants account for most persons who left England:
Free emigrants. Beginning in 1606 emigrants left England to promote trade or set up military outposts and way stations for merchant ships. Later free emigrants sought opportunities in a new land or fled poverty or oppression in England.
Assisted emigrants. From 1815 to 1900, qualified emigrants received passage money or land grants in the destination country as an alternative to receiving poor relief.
Transported prisoners. From 1611 to 1870, more than 200,000 criminals were conditionally pardoned, exiled, and transported to penal colonies. Before 1775, more than 50,000 prisoners were sent to America—primarily to Virginia and Maryland. From 1788 to 1869, more than 160,000 prisoners were sent to Australia.
Military personnel. Upon discharge, soldiers serving overseas were offered land or other inducements to settle in the colony where they were serving. This was common practice in Australia from 1791, Canada from 1815, and New Zealand from 1844.
Latter-day Saints. About 1840, converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emigrated to the United States. Most settled in Utah. For further information, see Latter-day Saint Online Genealogy Records.

Records of English Emigrants in Their Destination Nations[edit | edit source]

Dark thin font green pin Version 4.png One option is to look for records about the ancestor in the country of destination--the country they immigrated into. See links to immigration records for major destination countries below. For other countries with smaller English immigrant populations, choose a Wiki article from the Emigration and Immigration Category.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog: