Spain Emigration and Immigration
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Passenger lists (Listas de pasajeros)
Research use: Trace emigrants back to their ancestral origins.
Record type: Records of emigrant embarkation to depart the country.
General: Emigration has been a way of life in Spain for centuries. Originally, Sevilla was the only port legally authorized for ships sailing to America. In the last half of the eighteenth century the number of ports was increased to six: Alicante, Málaga, Cartagena, Barcelona, and La Coruña. In the latter half of the 19th century the popular destinations were Cuba and the Philippines, and in the early 20th century, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil, and Venezuela.
Time period: 1509-1900 (at least).
Contents: The early records in Sevilla contain the names of passengers and requests for permission to travel to America. Both identify the emigrant or the name of the head of household, birthplace and residence before embarkation.
Location: Third section, Archive of the Indies (Archivo General de Indias) in Sevilla for early records 1509-1790; municipal archives of port cities for later records.
Population coverage: As much as 30% of the historical population of Spain in earlier periods may have emigrated. Many of them did not register. It is estimated that as much as 20% of the population may be contained in the passenger lists.
Accessibility: High. An index has been published for the records in early lists in Sevilla for the period 1509-1599--Catálogo de Pasajeros a Indias.
Immigrant Ancestors Project
The Immigrant Ancestors Project (free online database) includes lists of emigrants from Spain.
Sometimes it is possible to guess where an immigrant originated through surname distribution maps.
Emigrantes Riojanos a América (1880-1936) This site has a database of people who emigrated from the province of La Rioja. It can be [searched by locality if you know the name of the town in La Rioja where your ancestor was from.
A wiki article describing an online collection is found at:
- Spain, Consular Records of Emigrants (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Spain, Cadiz Passports (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- The Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “Family History Record Profile: Spain,” Word document, private files of the FamilySearch Content Strategy Team, 1984-1999.