Tracing Immigrants Origin History
Histories about the country of origin and emigration from that country can reveal much about an emigrant, including the circumstances of the departure. Histories often give clues to emigration patterns and processes. They may also suggest sources of information about specific individuals. One such history is—
- Bolognani, Bonifacio. A Courageous People from the Dolomites: The Immigrants from Trentino. Trento, Italy: Province of Trent, 1981. (FHL book 973 F2b.)
While they may not help localize the surname, histories may identify regions from which most emigration took place. Local histories are even more helpful. Many early emigrants (especially before the 1850s) left from small areas within the old country and settled together in the same area of the new country. Local histories often include lists of local inhabitants who emigrated or indicate places they settled in the new country. Even without names of emigrants, local histories usually include the names of many local families. They are an easily searched source that may identify an individual emigrant, or at least help localize the surname. Particularly useful town histories include the Norwegian Bygdbøker and German Ortssippenbücher (especially for Baden). Of course, local histories can only be useful if you know where the emigrant came from. However, they are easier to search (when available) than most other local records.