Argentina Emigration and Immigration
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigration) or coming into (immigration) Argentina. These lists are usually found as passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, records of passports issued, or lists of prisoners deported. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ name, ages, occupations, destinations, and sometimes place of origin or birthplace.
These sources can be very valuable in helping you determine where in Argentina your ancestor settled or from what city he or she immigration from. In addition to their usefulness in determining where an emigrant lived in the country before leaving, these records can help in constructing family groups. If you don't find your ancestor, you may find emigration information on neighbors of your ancestor. People who lived near each other in Argentina or other countries often settled together in the country they emigrated to.
Records were created when individuals emigrated from or immigrated to Argentina. Other records document an ancestor's arrival in his destination country. This section discusses:
- Finding the Emigrant's Town of Origin.
- Immigration into Argentina.
- Emigration From Argentina
- Records of Argentinian emigrants in their destination countries.
Unfortunately, there are few emigration records from Argentina at the Family History Library. There are some helpful records of Argentinian immigrants into other countries.
Finding the Emigrant's Town of Origin
Once you have traced your family back to your immigrant ancestor, you must determine the city or town the ancestor was from. There are several sources that may give your ancestor's place of origin. You may be able to learn the town your ancestor came from by talking to older family members. Members of your family or a library may have documents that name the city or town, such as:
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates.
- Family Bible.
- Church certificates/records.
- Naturalization applications and petitions.
- Passenger lists.
- Family heirlooms.
Sometimes it is possible to guess where an immigrant originated through surname distribution maps.
Additional information about finding the origins of immigrant ancestors is given in Tracing Immigrant Origins.
Immigration into Argentina
After independence was won and during the early formative years of the government, the government passed laws encouraging the immigration of foreigners who would be willing to come and work the land and develop an agricultural industry in the country. Free land, tools and animals were given to these new colonies if they would work on the land for five years.
In 1824 the Commission of Immigration begin to function, advertising abroad in order to attract European immigrants to create new agriculture communities in the vast open lands outside the great Buenos Aires. One of the first groups sponsored came from the British Isles in Feb 1825 departing from Glasgow and Liverpool. This is how some of the first Irish came and populated the outskirts of the province of Buenos Aires and the south of Santa Fe. The Basque, specially the French Basque, followed in this early immigration.
These were the early immigrants that were at the beginning of what would be the major immigration period for Argentina.
Starting around 1853 the project to colonize took force. The immigrants that had made contracts in Europe to gain land began to arrive, settling in colonies in the provinces of Santa Fe, Chaco, and Entre Rios. In 1857 these contracts brought families from Switzerland, the Piedmont area in Italy, and the Haute–Savoie and Savoie departments in France. Russians and Germans also began coming at this time.
Until 1876, when the laws of immigration were realigned, Santa Fe and Entre Rios were at the head of the new colonization movement. In reality most of these new colonies were brought under contract from Europe and the people stayed and began to make roots in their new soil and contribute to the development of the agriculture and industrial foundation of their new country. They worked the land, and gave of their harvest to the government as payment and as their contracts were fulfilled the land became their property.
After this wave of contracted immigrants, other independent immigrants came. By 1875, 68,277 new immigrants had entered Argentina, the majority being Italians and Spaniards. From 1870–1890 a million and half more came. In the latter part of this period, hundreds of Russian Jewish Refugees came and settled in colonies in the province of Entre Rios. The Welsh came and settled the southern zone of the country.
By 1913 there were three million that had found new homes in Argentina. There has been a continuous flow of immigrants through the years. The latest of the new arrivals were Koreans, Chinese, Taiwanese, and the Africans.
What is certain is that all who came have contribute to the soul of the modern Argentinian who has in him characteristic of all the ethic groups that now form Argentina.
Most immigrants to Argentina arrived at the port of Buenos Aires or crossed the border with Uruguay from Montevideo. There are Passenger lists for disembarkation at and embarkation from the Port of Buenos Aires. These include some passports:
- Entradas y Salidas de Pasajeros 1821 – 1871(Arrivals and Departures of Passengers 1821–1871). Buenos Aires: Archivo General de la Nación, 1992. (FHL film 1840670–1840684.)
The immigration records between 1870 and 1888 were lost. As the Centro de Estudio Migratorios (C.E.M.L.A.) has complete and computerized immigration records from 1888–1925. You may write to them for information.
The Archivo General de la Nación has immigration and passport records since the early 1800s. You will need to write to them for that information. Good references at the Family History Library for more information on immigration and emigration into Argentina include:
- Panettieri, José. Inmigración en la Argentina(Immigration in Argentina). Buenos Aires: Ediciones Macchi, 1970. (FHL book 982 W2i.)
- Margulis, Mario. Migración y marginalidad en la Sociedad Argentina (Migration in Argentina and its social implications). Buenos Aires: Paidos, 1970, 1975. (FHL book 982 W2m.)
- Gori, Gastón. Inmigración y Colonización en la Argentina(Immigration and colonization in Argentina). Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1964. (FHL book 982 W2g.)
Some of those who emigrated from Europe emigrated through the port of Hamburg. The records of Hamburg have been microfilmed and are available in the collection of the Family History Library. These passenger lists and indexes are most fully described in Hamburg Passenger Lists. Note: the old Hamburg Passenger Lists Resource Guide has been incorporated into the article. Also see the microfiche instructions in Hamburg Passenger Lists.
Germans to Argentina between 1850 and 1865 were extracted from the German newspaper "Hamburger Nachrichten" and listed in GENEALOGIE, Heft 4, 1974, page 118, call number 943 B2gf at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
If you have family from any of the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway or Finland) who emigrated to Argentina, there are church records available. Buenos Aires had a small population of Scandinavian immigrants. They primarily belonged to Norwegian sailing families. Church records have been microfilmed from 1888-1919, with some later records appearing on the Norwegian National Archives website. These records include, many times, places of birth in Norway. The church records can be seen at Skannede Kirkeboker. (This website is available in English and Norwegian only, although, many of the records are written in Spanish.)
For help reading the Norwegian church records, please contact us through the forums at the
Emigration From Argentina
Some Argentines chose to leave their country during the troubled years of government turmoil in the 1970s and 1980s. Emigrants from Argentina left records documenting their migration in the country they left as well as in the country they moved to.
Most Argentinian emigrants left through Buenos Aires or the major cities with international transportation. There are records of departures including emigration list, passport records, and passenger lists. The information in these lists varies over time but usually includes the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, and destinations. In addition, relationships and last residence or birthplace may be given. Passenger lists are available from the Dirección de Puertos (Administration of the Port) and for the air travel from the Dirección General de Aeronavegación (General Administration of Aviation) which comes under the Ministerio de Aeronáutica (Ministry of Aeronautics).
Other Records of Departure
People desiring to leave Argentina were required to request permission from the government. These records are available for research in the National Archives of Argentina. Other records that might have information on immigrants include:
- Permissions to emigrate.
- Newspaper announcements.
- Probates of relatives who stayed.
- Church records (annotations).
- Police Lists/ Registrations.
- Court Records.
Records of Argentinian Emigrants in Their Destination Countries
Sometimes the best sources for information about your immigrant ancestor are found in the country he or she emigrated to. These may provide the town of origin in Argentina and other information.
To learn about these records, use available handbooks, manuals, and FamilySearch Wiki articles for the country in which they arrived. For the United States use Tracing Immigrant Origins.
- Irish Passengers to Argentina (1822-1929) This is a searchable database
- Irish Settlers in Argentina This is a searchable database
- The Scots in Argentina (1800-1932) This is a searchable database
- Mass Jewish Migration Database This is a searchable database.
- BÚSQUEDA DEL ARRIBO DE INMIGRANTES This is a searchable database in Spanish
- Brits in South America This is a searchable database
- The data banks on Italian emigrants to the United States, Argentina and Brazil