Scotland Emigration and Immigration

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Online Databases[edit | edit source]

Scottish Emigration to Ireland[edit | edit source]

Offices and Archives to Contact[edit | edit source]

Passenger Lists. Port records listing the names of departing or arriving passengers are called passenger lists. Pre-1890 passenger departure lists are rare. Post-1890 lists are arranged chronologically by port of departure. These lists—which usually give the emigrant’s name, age, occupation, address, and sometimes destination—are kept at the Public Record Office, Kew:

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 Scotland[edit | edit source]

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

Scotland Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.=== Immigration to Scotland === Immigration into Scotland has included people from elsewhere in the British Isles and from Continental Europe. Specific immigrant groups include:

  • refugees from wars (such as the French Revolution)
  • refugees from religious persecution (such as Huguenots and Jews).
  • job seekers influenced of industrial development (particularly in the nineteenth century)
  • refugees from the Irish Potato Famine

Emigration from Scotland[edit | edit source]

  • Beginning in the seventeenth century, Scottish people began emigrating to the United States, India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the British Isles.
  • The following types of emigrants account for most persons who left Scotland.
  • Free emigrants. Beginning in 1630, emigrants left Scotland to promote trade or set up military outposts and way stations for merchant ships. Later, free emigrants sought opportunity in a new land or fled poverty or oppression in Scotland.
  • 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. Many Scots from the Highlands emigrated to Canada in this manner. After 1840, New Zealand and Australia offered money for land grants to skilled workers to encourage immigrants.
  • Latter-day Saints. Beginning in about 1840, many Scottish Latter-day Saints emigrated to the United States. Most settled in Utah. For more information, see Utah Emigration and Immigration and Latter-day Saint Online Genealogy Records:Emigration and Immigration.
  • Immigration since World War II has given Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dundee small South Asian communities.
  • In 2011, there were an estimated 49,000 ethnically Pakistani people living in Scotland, making them the largest non-White ethnic group.
  • Since the enlargement of the European Union more people from Central and Eastern Europe' have moved to Scotland, and the 2011 census indicated that 61,000 Poles live there.[1]

Scottish Diaspora[edit | edit source]

The Scottish diaspora includes:

  • The Auld Alliance and the Scottish Wars of Independence which led countless Scots to emigrate to mainland Europe to escape persecution and hardship.
  • The Highland clearances which depopulated large parts of the Scottish Highlands and had lasting effects on Scottish Gaelic culture. Emigrants settled in close communities on Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia (Antigonish and Pictou counties and later in Cape Breton), the Glengarry and Kingston areas of Ontario and the Carolinas of the American colonies.
  • The Lowland Clearances which resulted in significant migration of Lowland Scots to Canada (highest concentration in the province Nova Scotia) and the United States after 1776. Thousands of cottars and tenant farmers from the southern counties (Lowlands) of Scotland migrated from farms and small holdings they had occupied to the new industrial centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh and northern England.
  • The Ulster-Scots, descended primarily from Lowland Scots who settled Ulster, Ireland during the Plantation of Ulster in the 17th century. The largest numbers came from Galloway, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, Ayrshire and the Scottish Borders including nearby parts of Northern England, with others coming from further north in the Scottish Lowlands and, to a much lesser extent, from the Highlands. Ulster Scots emigrated onwards from Ireland in significant numbers to what is now the United States and to all corners of the then-worldwide British Empire—what are now Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the West Indies, to British India and to a lesser extent to Argentina and Chile.Scotch-Irish (or Scots-Irish) is a traditional term for Ulster Scots who emigrated to America.[2]

Records of Scottish 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 Wiki articles about immigration records for major destination countries below. Additional Wiki articles for other destinations can be found at Category:Emigration and Immigration Records.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Scotland", in Wikipedia,, accessed 17 June 2021.
  2. "List of diasporas",, accessed 17 June 2021.