New Hampshire Emigration and Immigration

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Portal:United States Emigration and Immigration >New Hampshire

Nearly 50 million people have immigrated to America. You can gain information from these records, such as your ancestor’s arrival date, port of departure and arrival, other family or community members, and country of origin.

The United States Research Outline (30972) "Emigration and Immigration" section lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include many references to people who settled in New Hampshire.

The Tracing Immigrant Origins Research Outline (34111) introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor’s original hometown.


Colonial settlers of New Hampshire were mostly of British origin. The earliest settlers came from Massachusetts and Connecticut or directly from England. Beginning in 1719 they were joined by large numbers of Scotch-Irish. By the end of the 18th century, most of the original Indian tribes had moved northward to Canada.

After the Civil War, large numbers of French-Canadians moved southward from Quebec province to work in the textile mills. Today about one-fourth of New Hampshire residents are of French-Canadian descent. European immigrants also came to New Hampshire in the late 1800s, including large numbers of Irish and Italians and smaller groups from Scandinavia and Poland.


The major port of entry to New England is Boston. The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists for the years 1820 to March 1874, and 1883 to 1935. Incomplete passenger lists for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, from 1820 to 1861 are available in Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820–1873, published by the United States Bureau of Customs. See the "Emigration and Immigration" section of the United States Research Outline (30972) for references to the passenger lists of Boston and other ports.

The Massachusetts State Archives also has Boston passenger lists for 1848 to 1891, including records for the nine years (1 Apr. 1874–31 Dec. 1882) that are missing from the National Archives and Family History Library films. See the address for the Massachusetts State Archives in "Archives and Libraries" in this outline.

Colonial Immigration. Names of colonial immigrants listed in published sources are indexed in P. William Filby’s Passenger and Immigration Lists Index. See the "Emigration and Immigration" section of the United States Research Outline (30972) for this source and more detailed information on U.S. immigration sources.

A comprehensive list of about 140,000 immigrants to America from Britain is:

Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607–1776 and Emigrants in Bondage, 1614–1775. Family Tree Maker’s Family Archives, no.350. [Novato, California]: Brøderbund Software, 1996. (Family History Library compact disc no. 9 pt. 350.) This does not circulate to Family History Centers. It includes New Hampshire immigrants and may show the British hometown, emigration date, ship, destination, and text of the document abstract. These are also indexed in the FamilyFinder Index and Viewer described in the "Census" section of this outline.

Canadian Border Crossing Records.

Many people came to New Hampshire via Canada. Lists are available for those who crossed the Canadian border between 1895 and 1954. Lists of passengers crossing the Canadian border to the United States, including New Hampshire, were collected at St. Albans, Vermont, and are called Manifest of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District. This collection includes records from all over Canada and the northern United States. These are the records compiled by U.S. immigration officials who inspected travelers at all Canadian seaports, major cities, and emigration stations and at U.S. train arrival stations in all border states from Maine to Washington. These lists may include the name of the passenger, date and port or station of entry, literacy, last residence, previous visits to the United States, place of birth, and names of relatives in the United States and Canada. For a full description of the two sets of records and four indexes, see the "Emigration and Immigration" section of the United States Research Outline (30972).

Other sources on emigration and immigration can be found in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:



New Hampshire Research Outline. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.