Kansas Emigration and Immigration
|Kansas Wiki Topics|
|Local Research Resources|
- 1 How to Find the Records
- 2 Finding Town of Origin
- 3 Background
- 4 Immigration Records
- 5 In-country Migration
- 6 For Further Reading
- 7 References
How to Find the Records
Kansas, being entirely inland, has no seaports. Immigrants would have initially arrived at a port on the coast. To search those records, see United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records.
- 1500s-1900s All U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s at Ancestry; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas; Also at MyHeritage; index only ($)
- 1895-1956 United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956 at MyHeritge; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas
- 1920-1939 Germany, Bremen Emigration Lists, 1920-1939 at MyHeritge; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas
- Germans Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritge; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas
- Italians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritge; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas
- Russians Immigrating to the United States at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Kansas
- Orphan Train Riders to Iowa
Passport Records Online
- 1795-1925 - United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925 at FamilySearch — index and images
- 1795-1925 - U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 Index and images, at Ancestry ($)
Offices to Contact
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.
U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services Genealogy Program
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
- 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
- Web Request Page allows you to request a records, pay fees, and upload supporting documents (proof of death).
- Record Requests Frequently Asked Questions
National Orphan Train Complex
National Orphan Train Complex
300 Washington Street
P.O. Box 322
Concordia, Kansas 66901
Many children came to Kansas on the "orphan trains." The Orphan Train Complex, centered in Kansas, is dedicated to preserving the stories and artifacts of those who were part of the Orphan Train Movement from 1854-1929
Germans from Russia
Germans from Russia Heritage Society
1008 E Central Ave
Bismarck, ND 58501
Finding Town of Origin
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.
- Kansas was considered part of the Great American Desert and did not attract white settlers until the 1850s. The early settlers generally arrived from the states of Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana.
- A significant number came from the New England states in 1854 and 1855, aided by the New England Emigrant Aid Company. Other families immigrated from the British Isles and Germany.
- After the Civil War, many Union veterans settled in Kansas when the Homestead Act (1862) and other public laws opened the land for settlement. Many were from the Ohio River Valley (especially Kentucky and Tennessee) and from the Middle Atlantic and New England states.
- By 1870 many of the Indian tribes had been removed to what is now Oklahoma, although Potawatomi, Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians still live on small reservations in the state.
- About 7,000 African Americans from Tennessee settled in Cherokee County beginning in 1873, and several thousand came from the lower Mississippi Valley states to Kansas City in the "Great Exodus" of 1879 and 1880.
- The post-Civil War boom also attracted new settlers from overseas. Between 1870 and 1890, many Scandinavians and thousands of Germans from Russia joined the immigration to Kansas, as did smaller groups of Czechs and French.
- Settlement of Kansas progressed from east to west until by about 1890 all areas of the state had been settled.
- Religious groups also established some of the early settlements in Kansas. These included Quakers, River Brethren, Dunkards and German Baptists, and Mennonites from southern Russia.
- A new wave of immigration from other countries began about 1895 and continued until 1915. During this period, small groups arrived from Mexico, Italy, Greece, and Yugoslavia.
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?
- 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
Kansas Migration Routes
- Abilene Trail
- Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway
- California Trail
- Cherokee Trail
- Chisholm Trail
- Great Western Cattle Trail
- Jones and Plummer Trail
- Leavenworth Pike's Peak Express
- Mormon Trail
- Oregon Trail
- Santa Fe Trail
- Smoky Hill Trail
- Solomon River Trail
- Texas Road or Shawnee Trail
For Further Reading
The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:
- "Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.