Pennsylvania Emigration and Immigration
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|Local Research Resources|
Online Resources[edit | edit source]
- Immigrant Servants Database - Details on more than 2,500 European indentured servants who served labor terms in Pennsylvania
- 1500s-1900s All U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s at Ancestry; index only ($); Also at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- 1641-1819 Emigrants to Pennsylvania, 1641-1819 at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1727-1887 Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Philadelphia Arrivals, Vol. 1; index only
- 1771-1773 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Indentures, 1771-1773 at Ancestry; index only ($)
- 1795-1925 U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 at Ancestry; index & images ($)
- 1798-1828 Pennsylvania, Landing Reports of Aliens, 1798-1828 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1800-1882 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images. also at Ancestry ($)
- 1800-1906 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index, 1800-1906 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1800-1948 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1948 at FindMyPast; index only ($)
- 1800-1962 Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962 at Ancestry; index & images ($)
- 1883-1945 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images; Also at MyHeritage; index & images ($)
- 1883-1948 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-1948 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images; Also at MyHeritage; index & images ($)
- 1890-1949 Philadelphia Bank Immigrant Passage Records, 1890-1949 at Ancestry; index only ($)
- 1893-1909 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Immigration Records, Special Boards of Inquiry, 1893-1909 at Ancestry; index & images ($)
- 1894-1954 United States, Border Crossings from Canada to United States, 1894-1954 at FamilySearch at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- 1895-1956 United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956 at MyHeritage; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- 1895-1964 All U.S., Border Crossings from Mexico to U.S., 1895-1964 at Ancestry; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- 1952-1957 Pennsylvania, Crew Lists arriving at Erie, 1952-1957 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; index & images
- Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild at MyHeritage; index only ($)
Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]
- British Aliens in the United States During the War of 1812, e-book
- 1682-1750 Quaker Arrivals at Philadelphia 1682-1750 at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1682-1750 Immigration of Irish Quakers to Pennsylvania, 1682-1750 at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1727-1776 Index to the names of 30,000 immigrants--German, Swiss, Dutch and French--into Pennsylvania, 1727-1776. : supplementing the I. at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1727-1808 Pennsylvania German Pioneers Passenger Lists, Palatine German Immigrant Ships to Philadelphia 1727-1808
- 1731-1737 The Genealogical record of the Schwenkfelder families: seekers of religious liberty who fled from Silesia to Saxony and thence to Pennsylvania in the years 1731-1737 at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1803-1850 An Alphabetical Index to Ulster Emigration to Philadelphia, 1803-1850 at Ancestry; images only ($)
- 1850-1897 Germanic Immigration Records: 1850 - 1897 at FindMyPast ($)
- 1900-1923 Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923 at FamilySearch - How to Use this Collection; images only
- 1910-1968 Pennsylvania, Order Sons of Italy in America, Enrollment and Death Benefit Records, 1910-1968 at Ancestry; index & images ($)
- 1917-1978 Pennsylvania, Order Sons of Italy in America, Mortuary Fund Claims, 1917-1978 at Ancestry; index & images ($)
- 1920-1939 Germany, Bremen Emigration Lists, 1920-1939 at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- Germans Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- Italians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- Russians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Pennsylvania
- Ancestor Search, Palatine German Ship Passenger Lists to PA
- Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. Vol. II: (New Jersey and Pennsylvania Monthly Meetings), ($), index/images
- A collection of upwards of thirty thousand names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other immigrants in Pennsylvania from 1727 to 1776 with a statement of the names of ships, whence they sailed and the date of their arrival at Philadelphia, e-book
- Immigration of Irish Quakers to Pennsylvania, 1682-1750
- Welsh founders of Pennsylvania, e-book
- Card index to Pennsylvania Germans in the magazines : Proceedings and addresses (Pennsylvania German Society); Pennsylvania Dutchman; PGFS or Pennsylvania German Folklore Society; Penn-Germania; The Pennsylvania-German; Historical review of Berks County; Reprint, the Morning call; some copied Bible records, 1713-1951, and news clippings
Passport Records Online[edit | edit source]
- 1795-1925 - United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1795-1925 - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 Index and images, at Ancestry ($)
Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]
Although many records are included in the online records listed above, there are other records available through these archives and offices. For example, there are many minor ports that have not yet been digitized. There are also records for more recent time periods. For privacy reasons, some records can only be accessed after providing proof that your ancestor is now deceased.
National Archives and Records Administration[edit | edit source]
- The National Archives (NARA) has immigration records for arrivals to the United States from foreign ports between approximately 1820 and 1982. The records are arranged by Port of Arrival (See Part 5).
- You may do research in immigration records in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001.
- Some National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regional facilities have selected immigration records; call to verify their availability or check the online Microfilm Catalog.
- Libraries with large genealogical collections, such as the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and the Allen County Piblic Library also have selected NARA microfilm publications.
- Order copies of passenger arrival records with NATF Form 81.
U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services Genealogy Program[edit | edit source]
The USCIS Genealogy Program is a fee-for-service program that provides researchers with timely access to historical immigration and naturalization records of deceased immigrants. If the immigrant was born less than 100 years ago, you will also need to provide proof of his/her death.
Immigration Records Available[edit | edit source]
- A-Files: Immigrant Files, (A-Files) are the individual alien case files, which became the official file for all immigration records created or consolidated since April 1, 1944.
- Alien Registration Forms (AR-2s): Alien Registration Forms (Form AR-2) are copies of approximately 5.5 million Alien Registration Forms completed by all aliens age 14 and older, residing in or entering the United States between August 1, 1940 and March 31, 1944.
- Registry Files: Registry Files are records, which document the creation of immigrant arrival records for persons who entered the United States prior to July 1, 1924, and for whom no arrival record could later be found.
- Visa Files: Visa Files are original arrival records of immigrants admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924.
Requesting a Record[edit | edit source]
- Web Request Page allows you to request a records, pay fees, and upload supporting documents (proof of death).
- Record Requests Frequently Asked Questions
Finding Town of Origin[edit | edit source]
Records in the countries emigrated from are kept on the local level. You must first identify the name of the town where your ancestors lived to access those records. If you do not yet know the name of the town of your ancestor's birth, there are well-known strategies for a thorough hunt for it.
Background[edit | edit source]
- By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had begun settling the Delmarva Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present-day Lewes, Delaware. 
- Starting in 1638, Swedes and Finns settled between present-day Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, and small settlements in West New Jersey. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) but settled few colonists there. In 1655, the Dutch took possession of all New Sweden.
- In 1642, Englishmen from New Haven, Connecticut built a blockhouse at Province Island (now Philadelphia Airport) but were promptly driven out by the Dutch and Swedish. In 1664. as part of the Second Anglo-Dutch War the British forced New Netherland into submission. By 1670, the English, Irish, and Welsh predominated in the area. They settled mostly in Philadelphia and the eastern counties.
- Germans began coming to Pennsylvania in large numbers at the end of the 1600s. Pennsylvania was the top destination for German immigrants arriving in Colonial North America.
- Scots-Irish started coming in large numbers after 1718. They settled first in the western Chester County area (later Lancaster county) and moved west over the Susquehanna River valley and Cumberland Valley area and later pushed into the western Pennsylvania counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Washington, Greene, and Allegheny.
- It was estimated that 3000 to 4000 Irish immigrants arrived at the port of Philadelphia in the decades before and after the Revolution.
- Some French Huguenots from New York migrated to Pennsylvania and settled in Berks and Lancaster counties. 
- Swiss Mennonites began to settle in Lancaster county about 1710.
Slaves and Indentured Servants[edit | edit source]
- In the 1870s, Pennsylvania attracted large numbers of immigrants from southern and eastern Europe. These included Slavs, Poles, Italians, Jews, Russians, and Greeks.
- During the 19th and especially the 20th centuries, African Americans from the southern states also moved to Pennsylvania in large numbers.
- Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew by 82.6% between 2000 and 2010, making it one of the largest increases in a state's Hispanic population. The significant growth of the Hispanic population is due to immigration to the state mainly from Puerto Rico, which is a US territory, but to a lesser extent from countries such as the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and various Central and South American nations, as well as from the wave of Hispanics leaving New York and New Jersey for safer and more affordable living.
- The majority of Hispanics in Pennsylvania are of Puerto Rican descent, having one of the largest and fastest-growing Puerto Rican populations in the country. Most of the remaining Hispanic population is made up of Mexicans and Dominicans. Most Hispanics are concentrated in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley and South Central Pennsylvania. 
Immigration Records[edit | edit source]
Immigration refers to people coming into a country. Emigration refers to people leaving a country to go to another. Immigration records usually take the form of ship's passenger lists collected at the port of entry. See Online Resources.
What can I find in them?[edit | edit source]
- Before 1820 - Passenger lists before 1820 included name, departure information and arrival details. The names of wives and children were often not included.
- 1820-1891 - Customs Passenger Lists between 1820 and 1891 asked for each immigrant’s name, their age, their sex, their occupation, and their country of origin, but not the city or town of origin.
- 1891-1954 - Information given on passenger lists from 1891 to 1954 included:
- name, age, sex,
- nationality, occupation, marital status,
- last residence, final destination in the U.S.,
- whether they had been to the U.S. before (and if so, when, where and how long),
- if joining a relative, who this person was, where they lived, and their relationship,
- whether able to read and write,
- whether in possession of a train ticket to their final destination, who paid for the passage,
- amount of money the immigrant had in their possession,
- whether the passenger had ever been in prison, a poorhouse, or in an institution for the insane,
- whether the passenger was a polygamist,
- and immigrant's state of health.
- 1906-- - In 1906, the physical description and place of birth were included, and a year later, the name and address of the passenger’s closest living relative in the country of origin was included.
Over the years, passports and passport applications contained different amounts of information about the passport applicant. The first passports that are available begin in 1795. These usually contained the individual's name, description of individual, and age. More information was required on later passport applications, such as:
- Birth date
- Naturalization information
- Arrival information, if foreign born
In-country Migration[edit | edit source]
During the colonial period, many immigrants lived temporarily in Pennsylvania before resettling elsewhere in the colonies - particularly those of German and Scotch-Irish background. Many went to the backcountry regions of Virginia and North Carolina.
Pennsylvania Migration Routes[edit | edit source]
Beaver and Erie Canal · Bethlehem Pike · Braddock's Road · Burd's Road · Canada Road · Centre Turnpike · Culbertson's Path · Cumberland Road · Delaware River · Fall Line Road · Forbes Road · Gist's Trace · Great Indian Warpath · Great Island Path · Great Shamokin Path · Great Trail · Great Valley Road · King's Highway · Kittanning Path · Lake Erie · Lake Shore Path · Lehigh and Lackawanna Paths · Gist's Trace · Minsi Path · National Road · Ohio River · Pennsylvania Road · Philadelphia Lancaster Turnpike · Philadelphia and Reading Rail Road · Great Valley Road · Pennsylvania Railroad · Schuylkill Canal · Fall Line Road · Tuscarora Path · Union Canal · Venango Path
For Further Reading[edit | edit source]
- Irish Immigration Website
- New Sweden Genealogy wiki article
- New Netherland Genealogy wiki article
- United States, Pennsylvania - Emigration and immigration
- United States, Pennsylvania - Emigration and immigration - Indexes
- United States, Pennsylvania - Migration, Internal
- United States, Pennsylvania - Minorities
- United States, Pennsylvania - Minorities - Genealogy
- United States, Pennsylvania - Minorities - History
- United States, Pennsylvania - Minorities - Indexes
- United States, Pennsylvania - Minorities - Periodicals
References[edit | edit source]
- "Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.
- "Pennsylvania", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania, accessed 8 April 2021.
- "New Sweden" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia (accessed 7 November 2008).
- Wayland Fuller Dunaway, "The English Settlers in Colonial Pennsylvania," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 52, No. 4 (Oct. 1928):317-341. For free online access, see WeRelate.
- Marianne Wokeck, "The Flow and the Composition of German Immigration to Philadelphia, 1727-1775," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 105, No. 3 (Jul. 1981):249-278. For free online access, see WeRelate.
- Edward C. Carter, "A 'Wild Irishman' Under Every Federalist's Bed: Naturalization in Philadelphia, 1789-1806," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 94, No. 3 (Jul. 1970):331-346. For free online access, see WeRelate.
- Wayland Fuller Dunaway, "The French Racial Strain in Colonial Pennsylvania," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct. 1929):322-342. For free online access, see WeRelate.
- Darold D. Wax, "Negro Import Duties in Colonial Pennsylvania," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 97, No. 1 (Jan. 1973):22-44. For free online access, see WeRelate.
- Sharon V. Salinger, To Serve Well and Faithfully: Labor and Indentured Servants in Pennsylvania, 1682-1800 (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1987; Family History Library book FHL book 974.8 E6ss. It includes the names of some individuals who were indentured servants. The sources Salinger used can provide examples of the kind of records to search to find out information about these individuals.
- Wayland Fuller Dunaway, "Pennsylvania as an Early Distributing Center of Population," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Apr. 1931):134-169; William H. Gehrke, "The Beginning of the Pennsylvania-German Element in Rowan and Cabarrus Counties, North Carolina," The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Oct. 1934):342-369. For free online access to both articles, see WeRelate.