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US: Immigration & Naturalization Records
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In this course, we discuss how to trace your immigrant ancestors to the United States. This includes the various immigration and naturalization sources, such as passenger arrival lists that are available, and how to use these records. Other sources and strategies for documenting immigrants are explored. Historical background about immigration to the US as it is relevant to genealogy is given.

Historical Background & General Resources


Historical Background
  • Timeline with Internet Links

    Research Guides for Immigration Research
  • Reference Material

  • British
  • German
  • Irish
  • Italian
  • Jewish
  • Polish
  • Welsh
  • Oryx American Family Tree Series

    General Websites for Immigration History & Research

    WEEK 2
    Strategies For Researching Immigrants & Their Origins

    Type 1: Only the Country of Origin is Known
    Using Family Traditions
  • Finding Books in Print
  • Online Sources

    Observing Migration Patterns
    Documenting the Immigrant''s Life as a Whole
    Immigration Information in American Censuses
    Researching the Extended Family
    Tracing Associations with Friends & Neighbors
    Tracing the Immigrant Ancestor''s Descendants
    Identifying Intermediate Countries of Migration
    Using Foreign Records in Select Cases

    How to Interpret a Country of Origin
  • Poland
  • German Empire (1883)

    Type 2: You Know a County, District or Region of Origin
    More Research Abroad May be Needed
    Researching All Branches of the Family Abroad
    Using County or Region Based Sources & Centres
    Records Usable With a Known County or District

    Inventories of Compiled Genealogies
  • Smith''s Inventory
  • Surname Interest Lists

    Alternate Research in the United States & Abroad

    Type 3: Specific Place of Origin (Place Name) is Known
    Pinpointing a Place Name

    Internet Sources for Place Names in Particular Countries
  • General
  • Britain
  • Canada
  • Eastern Europe
  • Ireland
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • United States

    Published Place Name Finding Aids
    Record Sources in the Country of Origin

    WEEK 3
    Documenting An Ancestor''s Immigration

    Websites on Passenger Arrivals
    Passenger Arrival Lists
    The Importance of Passenger Lists

    Colonial Arrival Lists
  • Published Colonial Immigrant Lists

    Books on Ships

    Passenger Lists on the Internet
  • Ellis Island

    How to Find A Passenger List

    What Is The Immigrant''s Most Likely Port of Entry?
  • Port of New York
  • Ellis Island Research
  • New York City Passenger List Indexes

    Canadian Passenger Lists

    WEEK 4
    Canadian Border Crossing, U.S. Passport, Foreign Departure & Emigration Records

    Canadian Border Crossing Records

    United States Passport Records
  • Regular Passport Applications
  • Location of Passport Records

    Foreign Departure & Emigration Records
  • General Resources
  • Germany
  • Bremen, Germany
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Britain & Ireland
  • England
  • Ireland
  • Scotland

    WEEK 5
    Naturalization Records

    British Colonial Naturalization Records
  • Colonial Naturalization Law
  • Colonial Naturalization Procedures After 1740
  • Locating Colonial Naturalization Records

    United States Naturalization, 1777-1789
  • Oaths of Allegiance
  • U.S. Naturalization Law 1790-1906
  • Which Courts Could Naturalize
  • Age & Gender
  • Post-1906 Immigration Procedure

    Types of Naturalization Records

    Major Sources: Naturalization Laws, Procedures, and Records
  • How Do You Know if Your Ancestor was Naturalized?
  • Location of Records
  • Indexes to Naturalization Records
  • Alien Registrations
  • Naturalization Records for Particular States

    Naturalization Records Online

    National Archives Contact Information

    WEEK 6
    Ethnic Sources, Socueties & Newspapers

    Introduction to Ethnic Sources

    Ethnic Immigration Reference Works
  • Basque
  • Czechs
  • Chinese
  • Danish
  • English
  • Ethiopians
  • Finns
  • Germans
  • Hungarians
  • Irish
  • Italians
  • Jewish
  • Luxembourgers
  • Poles
  • Portuguese
  • Russians
  • Scots
  • Slovaks
  • Swedes

  • Identifying a Society
  • Locating Society Records

    Ethnic Societies
  • Major Repositories
  • Ethnic Society Examples
  • Irish Ethnic Societies
  • Charitable Societies
  • Fraternal Societies

    Society Addresses
    Ethnic Newspapers
    "Information Wanted" Ads
    Immigrant Banks in America


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