Florida Emigration and Immigration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]

Passport Records Online[edit | edit source]

Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]

Although many records are included in the online records listed above, there are other records available through these archives and offices. For example, there are many minor ports that have not yet been digitized. There are also records for more recent time periods. For privacy reasons, some records can only be accessed after providing proof that your ancestor is now deceased.

National Archives and Records Administration[edit | edit source]

  • You may do research in immigration records in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001.
Florida Ports in NARA Records[edit | edit source]
  • Apalachicola, Florida, 1918
  • Boca Grande, Florida, 1890-1924 and 1912-1939
  • Boynton, Florida, 1942
  • Carrabelle, Florida, 1915
  • Fernandina, Florida, 1904-1935
  • Fort Pierce, Florida, 1939 and 1942
  • Hobe Sound, Florida, 1942
  • Jacksonville, Florida, 1890-1924
  • Key West, Florida, 1837-1868, 1890-1924, and 1898-1945
  • Knights Key, Florida, 1890-1924 and 1908-1912
  • Lake Worth, Florida, 1942
  • Mayport, Florida, 1902 and 1916
  • Miami, Florida, 1890-1924
  • Millville, Florida, 1916
  • Panama City, Florida, 1927-1939
  • Pensacola, Florida, 1890-1924 and 1926-1948
  • Port Everglades, Florida, 1932-1951
  • Port Inglis, Florida, 1912-1913
  • Port St. Joe, Florida, 1923 and 1939
  • Saint Andrews, Florida, 1916-1926
  • Saint Augustine, Florida, 1821-1870
  • Saint Johns, Florida, 1865
  • Stuart, Florida, 1942
  • Tampa, Florida, 1890-1924 (see T517) and 1898-1945 (see M1844)

U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services Genealogy Program[edit | edit source]

The USCIS Genealogy Program is a fee-for-service program that provides researchers with timely access to historical immigration and naturalization records of deceased immigrants. If the immigrant was born less than 100 years ago, you will also need to provide proof of his/her death.

Immigration Records Available[edit | edit source]
  • A-Files: Immigrant Files, (A-Files) are the individual alien case files, which became the official file for all immigration records created or consolidated since April 1, 1944.
  • Alien Registration Forms (AR-2s): Alien Registration Forms (Form AR-2) are copies of approximately 5.5 million Alien Registration Forms completed by all aliens age 14 and older, residing in or entering the United States between August 1, 1940 and March 31, 1944.
  • Registry Files: Registry Files are records, which document the creation of immigrant arrival records for persons who entered the United States prior to July 1, 1924, and for whom no arrival record could later be found.
  • Visa Files: Visa Files are original arrival records of immigrants admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924.[1]
Requesting a Record[edit | edit source]

Finding Town of Origin[edit | edit source]

Records in the countries emigrated from are kept on the local level. You must first identify the name of the town where your ancestors lived to access those records. If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.

Background[edit | edit source]

  • Pre-statehood settlers of Florida generally arrived after 1817 from the older southern states, especially Georgia and the Carolinas.
  • The East Florida non-Indian population hovered between 3,000 in 1763 and 5,000 in 1817 as the colony passed from the Spanish to the British and then back to Spanish possession.
  • By 1768 the British had imported over 1,200 Greeks, Italians, and Minorcans to the New Smyrna settlement. Many of them died, and by 1778 the remaining inhabitants were scattered through St. Augustine, where Minorcans are still an identifiable part of the population.
  • Thousands of loyalist refugees arrived from the rebellious American colonies beginning in 1775, but most were deported after 1783 to the Bahamas, Jamaica, and other islands of the British West Indies.
  • A few Americans from the southern states and British planters returning from the Bahamas entered Florida between 1790 and 1804.
  • In 1804, the Spanish officially closed East Florida to American immigration, but settlers continued to cross the Georgia-Florida border, especially after 1812.
  • Most persons migrating from the United States settled in the northern section of the state.
  • African Americans have been in Florida since early colonial times. There were as many African Americans as whites in Florida between 1830 and 1900.
  • The state remained sparsely settled until after the Civil War. Then land speculation, the construction of railroads, and the building of resorts attracted new residents from the northern states.
  • There were white settlers in all parts of Florida by 1900, when the total population reached 500,000.
  • The population doubled to one million by 1920, when a second Florida land boom was underway.
  • Refugees from revolutionary troubles in Cuba came to Florida beginning in 1868.
  • Immigrants from northern Spain, Italy, Greece, and other areas of southeastern Europe arrived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Immigration Records[edit | edit source]

Immigration refers to people coming into a country. Emigration refers to people leaving a country to go to another. Immigration records usually take the form of ship's passenger lists collected at the port of entry. See Online Resources.

What can I find in them?[edit | edit source]

Information in Passenger Lists[edit | edit source]

  • Before 1820 - Passenger lists before 1820 included name, departure information and arrival details. The names of wives and children were often not included.
  • 1820-1891 - Customs Passenger Lists between 1820 and 1891 asked for each immigrant’s name, their age, their sex, their occupation, and their country of origin, but not the city or town of origin.
  • 1891-1954 - Information given on passenger lists from 1891 to 1954 included:
    • name, age, sex,
    • nationality, occupation, marital status,
    • last residence, final destination in the U.S.,
    • whether they had been to the U.S. before (and if so, when, where and how long),
    • if joining a relative, who this person was, where they lived, and their relationship,
    • whether able to read and write,
    • whether in possession of a train ticket to their final destination, who paid for the passage,
    • amount of money the immigrant had in their possession,
    • whether the passenger had ever been in prison, a poorhouse, or in an institution for the insane,
    • whether the passenger was a polygamist,
    • and immigrant's state of health.
  • 1906-- - In 1906, the physical description and place of birth were included, and a year later, the name and address of the passenger’s closest living relative in the country of origin was included.

Information in Passports[edit | edit source]

Over the years, passports and passport applications contained different amounts of information about the passport applicant. The first passports that are available begin in 1795. These usually contained the individual's name, description of individual, and age. More information was required on later passport applications, such as:

  • Birthplace
  • Birth date
  • Naturalization information
  • Arrival information, if foreign born

In-country Migration[edit | edit source]

Florida Migration Routes[edit | edit source]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.