New Jersey 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.
New Jersey Ports in NARA Records[edit | edit source]

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]

Dutch. The Dutch of New Netherland Genealogy intermittently occupied Fort Nassau (now Brooklawn, Camden, New Jersey) starting in 1623.[2] The northeastern part of New Jersey was the first to be permanently settled because of its close proximity to New Amsterdam (New York City). Bergen (now Jersey City), on the west bank of the Hudson River, was the first permanent Dutch settlement starting in 1630.[3]

Swedes and Finns. The first Swedish and Finnish settlers came to the site of modern Wilmington, Delaware, on the Delaware River in 1638. The growth of New Sweden Genealogy was slow. Raccoon (now Swedesboro, Gloucester, New Jersey) and New Stockholm (now Bridgeport, Gloucester, New Jersey) were not settled until 1642.[4]

Scots. The proprietors of East Jersey actively solicited Scottish settlers. From the 1680s to 1750, many Presbyterian Lowlanders from eastern Scotland came to East Jersey, particularly to the present counties of Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset, and Mercer. Hundreds left Scotland between 1683 and 1685 to settle New Perth at Amboy Point (now Perth Amboy), Plainfield, Freehold, and wilderness areas of the Watchung Mountains.

A second Lowlands migration, to Monmouth County, began in 1715 and continued through the 1720s, with settlers coming primarily to Middlesex, Essex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and northern Burlington counties. A third migration in about 1750 affected mostly Morris, Hunterdon, Sussex, and Salem counties.

Ulster Scots. Immigrants from Ulster started coming in 1710, but most arrived after 1725. Most entered at Philadelphia and settled in East Jersey, following much the same pattern of settlement as the first Scottish immigrants.

French Huguenots. Between 1677 and the early 1700s, Dutch-speaking French Huguenots from Harlem and Staten Island, New York, settled at Schraalenburgh (now Bergenfield) in the Hackensack Valley of Bergen County. Other Huguenots settled in Monmouth County.

Germans. The first German Palatines to settle in Bergen County arrived in New York in 1710. Between 1714 and 1750, German Lutherans followed the Raritan River through Monmouth and Somerset counties into northeastern Hunterdon County. A few of the Germans who later arrived at Philadelphia in the 1720s and 1730s crossed over to New Jersey. Those that did went to southern Hunterdon, Morris, and Sussex counties.

Nineteenth Century Immigration
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Beginning in the 1840s, immigration to New Jersey increased dramatically. About 80 percent of these new arrivals were from Germany and the British Isles. They supplied the needed manpower for the state's growing industries. Paterson was the major industrial center by 1850. The Irish were the largest foreign-born group in the two decades before the Civil War. The Germans were the largest group from 1870 to 1900. The English, Scots, and Welsh also came in significant numbers until about 1890.

Twentieth Century Immigration
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Blacks are now the largest minority group in New Jersey. They were first brought into New Jersey during colonial times by the Dutch. The black population of New Jersey was proportionally larger than that of any other northern state. Many southern blacks, who first came as migratory workers between 1870 and 1910, stayed to work in the cities, causing the black population to nearly triple. Migration to the cities continued between the two world wars. The surge which came during and following the second world war did not abate until the 1960s.

After the turn of the century, immigration to New Jersey was predominantly from central and southeastern Europe, particularly Italy. New Jersey also attracted large numbers of Poles, Russian Jews, Greeks, Czechs (Bohemians), Finns, Armenians, Hungarians, Latvians, and Lithuanians. Beginning in the 1950s, Cubans and Puerto Ricans have come to the large cities. Hispanics have comprised New Jersey's largest immigrant group since World War II.

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]

New Jersey Migration Routes[edit | edit source]

Ellis Island, Castle Garden, etc. · Atlantic Coast Ports · Delaware Indian Path or King's Highway  · Delaware River · Passaic River · Raritan River · Great Shamokin Path · King's Highway or Delaware Indian Path  · Lincoln Highway · Delaware and Raritan Canal · Morris Canal

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Genealogy", at USCIS,, accessed 26 March 2021.
  2. Amandus Johnson, "Detailed Map of New Sweden 1638-1655" in Amandus Johnson's book The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664 (Philadelphia: Swedish Colonial Society, 1915), 392.
  3. "Bergen, New Netherland" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at,_New_Netherland (accessed 12 December 2008).
  4. "New Sweden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 7 November 2008).

References[edit | edit source]