Scotland Emigration and Immigration
|Scotland Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
- 1 Online Databases
- 2 Introduction
- 3 Emigration from Scotland
- 3.1 Emigration from Scotland to Other Areas in the British Isles
- 3.2 Records of Scottish Emigrants in Their Destination Countries
- 4 Immigration to Scotland
- Scottish Immigration Database, index, incomplete.
- Emigrants from Scotland to America, 1774 - 1775 ($)
- Glasgow, Scotland, Crew Lists, 1863 - 1901 ($)
- Ships from Scotland to America, 1628 - 1828, Vol 2 ($)
- Ships from Scotland to America, 1628 - 1828, Vol. 3 ($)
- Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775, index, ($).
- Directory of Scots in the Carolinas, 1680-1830, index, ($).
- Passenger Lists of Ships leaving Scotland
- Ships "Curlew" and "Jane"; 1818 Voyages
- Brig Sophia:from Greenock 26th July 1818, to Quebec and Montreal 8th September 1818
Emigration and immigration records are records of people leaving (emigrating) or coming into (immigrating) Scotland. Records include:
- passenger lists
- permissions to emigrate
- records of passports issued
- list of transported prisoners
- registers of assistance to emigrate
These records may contain:
- place of origin or birthplace
- date and ship of arrival
- names of fellow passengers, which may help construct family groups or provide hints on place of origin or destination
Beginning in the seventeenth century, Scottish people began emigrating to the United States, India, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the British Isles. Emigration increased in the mid-eighteenth century as a result of political unrest and again after 1815 as a means of poor relief, particularly from the Highlands.
The British government did not bother to document emigrants leaving its shores until the Passenger Act of 1803. Even after that, the records were very incomplete.
The Colonial Land and Emigration Commission (1841 to 1872) and the Board of Trade (1873 on) kept records of departing emigrants, but the records have been destroyed up to the 1890s.
Emigration from Scotland
There was no systematic, official method of emigrating from Scotland. The following types of emigrants account for most persons who left Scotland.
Emigration from Scotland to Other Areas in the British Isles
Emigration from southern Scotland to England has always occurred, though in small numbers. Emigration from Scotland into Ireland occurred beginning in the early seventeenth century. No government records, such as lists of emigrants, were kept of these movements within the British Isles.
British Records of Emigration
To search emigration records effectively, it can help to know the approximate date of emigration, the name of the ship, the type of or reason for emigration, or the emigrant’s previous residence in Scotland. If you know the ship’s name, you might find additional details on the ship, including ports of embarkation and arrival in:
For lists of Scottish-American wills proved in England, see:
Records of Scottish Emigrants in Their Destination Countries
Since so few British immigration sources exist, you may need to search the emigration records of the country your ancestor moved from to Scotland. Usually, it is easier to find information about your immigrant ancestor in the country he or she immigrated to. You may find the emigrant’s name, place of origin, occupation, and age. Knowing an approximate date and port of arrival or ship name will probably help you search immigration records.
Naturalization records in the destination country may be an excellent source for determining your ancestor’s place of origin. Search this Wiki for "Naturalization and Citizenship" and the name of the destination country.
The FamilySearch Catalog lists most of its immigration records in the Locality Search under:
Argyll Patent - New York
In the mid 18th century, the governor of New York colony sought settlers from Britain. Captain Lauchlin Campbell, from Islay, Argyllshire, Scotland, transported over 470 individuals in 1738, 1739, and 1740 from Islay on his ship Happy Return. The records of the land they finally received are found in the documents of the Argyll Patent. On the Washington County, New York, United States, US GenWeb site is a map of the Argyll Patent. The land was located along the Hudson River.
A list of the emigrants may be accessed on the NYGenWeb website. More information about this colony can be found:
Argyll Colony - North Carolina
A group of individuals from Argyllshire settled in the Cape Fear area of North Carolina. Information about these emigrants can be found on NCPedia.
Scottish people settled in Canada during the early 1800s, but few pre-1865 passenger lists exist. Before 1900, most immigrants arrived at Quebec City and Halifax. The Family History Library has copies of passenger lists from 1865 to 1900. See the Canada Research Outline for more information.
Online Passenger Lists
These websites contain online passenger lists from Scotland to Canada:
Many books have been published about Scottish emigrants to North America. Some of these are:
You can find bibliographies of published passenger lists in:
Australia was founded as an English penal colony in 1788, but many free people also emigrated to Australia. Immigration records vary by state in content and coverage. Some list the immigrant’s birthplace, residence in Scotland, and education; his or her mother’s maiden name; and his or her father’s name, occupation, and residence. Some records are indexed. You might find the ship and arrival date in death certificates or published sources.
The Family History Library has many pre-1900 records. To find them, use the Locality Search of the catalog under:
The British began colonizing New Zealand in 1840. Immigration records usually give settlement details and the wife’s and children’s names and ages. Most immigrants received assistance from either the New Zealand Company or from a government or church association formed to encourage immigration.
The Family History Library has many of these records. You can find them by looking in the Locality Search of the catalog under:
Immigration to Scotland
Immigration into Scotland has included people from elsewhere in the British Isles and from Continental Europe. Specific immigrant groups include:
No regular series of arrival records survives prior to 1836. The few surviving pre-1836 immigration records are not indexed. The following types of records may help you find information about an ancestor who immigrated into Scotland:
The Family History Library has very few records of immigration into Scotland. To find microfilm numbers for the records that are available, look in the Locality Search of the catalog under: