Georgia Emigration and Immigration

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Portal:United States Emigration and Immigration >Georgia


Colonial settlers of Georgia generally came from the Carolinas, from Virginia, or directly from England and Scotland. The first large group of immigrants came from the British Isles to the Savannah area with James Oglethorpe in 1733.

The total non-native population of Georgia in 1752 has been estimated at 5,000. Small groups of Protestants from German- and French-speaking areas of Europe were in Georgia by that date, including Moravians and Swiss. The most important of these groups were the 1,500 Salzburgers who had settled at Ebenezer in present-day Effingham County beginning in 1734.

An important group of 350 Puritans from South Carolina, accompanied by 1,500 blacks, arrived in Georgia beginning in 1752. They first settled in the Midway District. Their ancestors had previously settled the towns of Dorchester in both Massachusetts and South Carolina. In 1758 these Puritans established the seacoast town of Sunbury.

Between 1802 and 1820 thousands of Americans moved to Georgia seeking free or inexpensive land. The Creek and Cherokee Indians were removed from the state before 1840.


The Family History Library at

and the National Archives at have passenger lists for Savannah for portions of the years 1820 to 1826, 1831, 1847 to 1851, and 1866 to 1867 (Family History Library microfilm 830246).

Lists of arrivals in Georgia and other southern ports beginning in 1890 are also available at the National Archives. The Family History Library has an index to these lists for 1890 to 1924 (Family History Library microfilms 1324938-63). These are in the Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, 1890-1924 listed in the Family History Library Catalog under UNITED STATES - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION - INDEXES.

The library also has Savannah lists for 1906 to 1945 (Family History Library microfilms 1375955 and 1414793-95).

More detailed information on federal immigration sources is in the United States Research Outline.

  • Records about many families who passed through Georgia on their way west are in Mary Bryan, Passports Issued by Georgia Governors, 1785-1809, and 1810-1820, Two Volumes. (Washington, D.C.: National Genealogical Society, 1959, 1964; Family History Library book 975.8 P4b; Family History Library microfilms 844966 and 1033943 item 12).

Records of ethnic groups including Indians, Quakers, and Salzburgers are listed in the place search of the Family History Library Catalog under the subject heading GEORGIA - MINORITIES.