Georgia Emigration and Immigration
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. Though it was designed to be a penal colony, most English convicts were transported to Virginia and Maryland, rather than Georgia.
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.
Barlow published abstracts of some Virginians migrating to Georgia:
- Barlow, Lundie W. "Some Virginia Settlers of Georgia, 1773-1798," The Virginia Genealogist, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1958):19-27. Digital version at American Ancestors ($).
Scattered records of colonial immigrants survive. They have usually been published, see:
- Austin, Jeannette H. Emigrants from Great Britain to the Georgia Colony. Riverdale, Ga.: J.H. Austin, 1970. FHL 1597743 Film 1597743 Item 2.
- Coulter, E. Merton and Albert Berry Saye. A List of the Early Settlers of Georgia. Athens, Ga.: University of Georgia Press, 1949. FHL 975.8 W2L 1967.
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.
Though they do not include names of passengers, records kept by the Colonial Office and stored at The National Archives (Kew, England), document ships' arrivals and departures from Georgia ports between 1752 and 1767. FamilySearch microfilmed these records. They are useful for learning about the history of ships entering the colony:
- Shippings Lists for Georgia, 1752-1767 FHL Film 964005.
Dr. Marianne S. Wokeck created a detailed list of "German Immigrant Voyages, 1683-1775" to Colonial America. Destinations include Georgia (1730s-1750s). She published the list in an Appendix to:
- Wokeck, Marianne S. Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. FHL Book 970 W2w.
1783 to Present
The Family History Library at www.familysearch.org 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 FHL 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 FHL 1324938 films 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).
Records about many families who passed through Georgia on their way west are included in:
- Bryan, Mary. 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).
Free native-born Georgians, alive in 1850, who had left the state, resettled as follows:
|State||Persons Born in Georgia||Percentage|
- Peter Wilson Coldham, British Emigrants in Bondage; E. Roger Ekirch, Bound for America.
- These statistics do not account for the large number of Georgians who had migrated and died before the year 1850. See: William O. Lynch, "The Westward Flow of Southern Colonists before 1861," The Journal of Southern History, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Aug. 1943):303-327. Digital version at JSTOR ($).