Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration
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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]
Most immigrants from overseas landed at East Coast ports, primarily New York City, before proceeding to Wisconsin. If an immigrant identified Milwaukee as the port of entry, it is possible that he or she arrived first at a port in Canada, and then came through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to enter the United States at Wisconsin. See United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records.
Online Resources[edit | edit source]
- 1500s-1900s All U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s at Ancestry; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin; Also at MyHeritage; index only ($)
- 1895-1956 United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956 at MyHeritage; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
- 1922-1963 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists, 1922-1963 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1922-1958 Minnesota, Duluth and Wisconsin, Superior Crew Lists, 1922-1958. at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1925-1956 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Ship Arrivals, 1925-1956. at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1925-1956 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Manitowoc, 1925-1956. at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]
- 1920-1939 Germany, Bremen Emigration Lists, 1920-1939 at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
- Germans Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
- Italians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
- Russians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
Passport Records Online[edit | edit source]
- 1795-1925 - United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index and images
- 1795-1925 - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 Index and images, at Ancestry ($)
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]
- The National Archives (NARA) has immigration records for arrivals to the United States from foreign ports between approximately 1820 and 1982. The records are arranged by Port of Arrival (See Part 5).
- You may do research in immigration records in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001.
- Some National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regional facilities have selected immigration records; call to verify their availability or check the online Microfilm Catalog.
- Libraries with large genealogical collections, such as the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Allen County Piblic Library also have selected NARA microfilm publications.
- Order copies of passenger arrival records with NATF Form 81.
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.
Requesting a Record[edit | edit source]
- Web Request Page allows you to request a records, pay fees, and upload supporting documents (proof of death).
- Record Requests Frequently Asked Questions
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]
- Small groups of French fur traders came to the Green Bay and Prairie du Chien areas in the 1700s.
- They were followed by lead miners from the Southern states who settled near the Galena diggings on the Illinois border in the 1820s.
- Substantial immigration from the northeastern states began in the 1830s. Later American-born settlers were usually from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
- Between 1840 and 1860, the most numerous of the foreign-born immigrants were from Germany. They came from the Catholic provinces of southern Germany and from Protestant eastern Germany.
- Before the Civil War, the Irish were the second largest immigrant group in Wisconsin.
- There was also considerable emigration from England, Scotland, Wales, and British North America.
- Many Norwegians came to Wisconsin and by 1900 had become the second-largest foreign-born group in the state.
- They were joined by settlers from southern and eastern Europe, especially Poles and Czechs, and by smaller groups of Russians, Yugoslavs, Italians, and Greeks.
- At the beginning of World War I in 1914, the majority of Wisconsin residents were of German origin or descent.
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]
- 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.
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:
- Birth date
- Naturalization information
- Arrival information, if foreign born
In-country Migration[edit | edit source]
Most immigrants from Europe came by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to the port of Milwaukee, or they traveled up the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers and then by the railroads, which crossed the area soon after Wisconsin statehood.
Wisconsin Migration Routes[edit | edit source]
For Further Reading[edit | edit source]
The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:
- United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration
- United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration - History - 19th century
- United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration - Indexes
- United States, Wisconsin - Minorities
- United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Biography
- United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Genealogy
- United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Genealogy - Periodicals
- United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - History
References[edit | edit source]
- "Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.