Hamburg Emigration/Immigration

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Emigration and Immigration

In 1575 a great number of people from the Netherlands immigrated to Hamburg and brought much prosperity to the city. In the 19th century emigration to the USA began. Hamburg was the transitional stop for emigrants from the Northern German coastal countries as well as from Eastern European countries.

By 1850 Hamburg became next to Bremen the most important emigration port in Europe. Read all about emigrating through Hamburg by clicking on

A very important tool in tracing German immigrants can be the Hamburg Passenger Lists, which cover the years 1850-1934. Study how to use this resource by clicking here:

Emigrants could have remained in Hamburg for a while. There was a Meldepflicht (obligation to register) in force since 1833 (mainly for non-Hamburgers), but it was not mandatory until 1892. Foreigners and servants were registered and those in need of passports. Some of these records are available through the Family History Library Catalog under Place Search (Hamburg), Naturalization and citizenship (Heimatbücher 1826-1864), Population (Meldeprotokolle für Fremde 1868-1889) and Immigration (Reisepassprotokolle 1851-1929).

Schutzverwandtschaft (17th century-1811,1837-1864)

To receive the privilege of  becoming a citizen (usually not full-status) in Hamburg required consent through the city council. People had to swear alliegiance, pay a yearly fee, and report all suspicious actívities. They could not transfer their privileges to their children.

The records are found in the State Archive Hamburg. Key words are Bürgerbücher, Bürgerprotokolle (1596-1902) as well as  Heimatscheinprotokolle (1826-1872).

Germans to America and the Hamburg Passenger Lists: Coordinated Schedules