Texas Emigration and Immigration

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Texas Wiki Topics
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Beginning Research
Record Types
Texas Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

1846-1847 Vol. 2; index only
1846-1852 Vol. 3; index only
1847-1866 Vol. 4; index only
1850-1853 Vol. 5; index only

Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]

New Orleans[edit | edit source]

Many immigrants to Texas arrived through the port of New Orleans. See also Louisiana Emigration and Immigration.

Mexican Border Crossing Records[edit | edit source]

Numerous Mexicans came to Texas in the late 19th and early 20th century. Records of 20th century Mexican border crossings are available at the National Archives and Family History Library. These include:

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.
Texas Ports in NARA Records[edit | edit source]
  • Aransas Pass, Texas, 1912-1921 and 1959-1965
  • Brownsville, Texas, 1905-1964
  • Corpus Christi (and vicinity), Texas, 1948-1959
  • Del Rio, Texas, 1906-1953
  • Eagle Pass, Texas, 1905-1953
  • El Paso, Texas, 1903-1954
  • Fabens, Texas, 1924-1954
  • Fort Hancock, Texas, 1924-1954
  • Galveston, Texas, 1846-1871, and 1896-1951
  • Houston, Texas, 1946-1954
  • Laredo, Texas, 1903-1955
  • Los Ebanos, Texas, 1950-1955
  • Port Aransas, Texas, 1912-1921 and 1959-1965
  • Presidio, Texas, 1908-1909
  • Progreso, Texas, 1928-1955
  • Rio Grande City, Texas, 1908-1955
  • Roma, Texas, 1907-1908 and 1928-1955
  • San Antonio, Texas, 1944-1952
  • Thayer, Texas, 1928-1955
  • Yseleta, Texas, 1924-1954
  • Zapata, Texas, 1923-1953

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]

  • The first settlers of Texas generally came from Spain, although a few Frenchmen settled in eastern Texas.
  • Between 1821 and 1836 about 38,000 settlers came from the United States, especially from the southern states.
  • In the thirty years before the Civil War, many European emigrants came to Texas. They were mostly Germans, Poles, Czechs, Swedes, Norwegians, and Irish.
  • By 1850, some 33,000 Germans had settled in Texas.
  • After the Civil War many people left the South and went to Texas.
  • Others came from the North Central states, especially farmers of Swedish, Polish, and Irish descent.
  • More Europeans came at this time, including Belgians, Danes, and Greeks. Most of these settled in the cities.

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]

Texas Migration Routes[edit | edit source]

Colorado River (Texas)| · Pecos River| · Red River · Rio Grande · Sabine River| · Butterfield Overland Mail · Camino Real de los Tejas · Camino Real de Tierra Adentro · Chisholm Trail · Coushatta-Nacogdoches Trace · Jones Plummer Trail · Preston Trail · San Antonio-El Paso Road · Santa Fe Trail · Texas Road · Southern Pacific Railroad · Texas and Pacific Railway

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.

Texas Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.(All of the information from the original research article has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.)