Michigan Emigration and Immigration

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The "Emigration and Immigration" section of the United States Research Outline lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include many references to people who settled in Michigan. The Tracing Immigrant Origins Research Outline introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's hometown.

Pre-statehood settlers of Michigan generally came from New York, Ohio, the New England states, and Ontario. Many immigrants from Germany and the Netherlands arrived by 1850. Later arrivals were Scandinavian, Irish, Cornish, Italian, and Polish. A helpful source on Michigan immigrants is:

Vander Hill, C. Warren. Settling the Great Lakes Frontier: Immigration to Michigan, 1837–1924. Lansing, Michigan: Michigan Historical Commission, 1970. (FHL book 977.4 W2v.)

Major ports of entry to Michigan have been New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Quebec. The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists for American ports for the years 1820 to 1920 and indexes for 1820 to 1943. The library has lists for Quebec for 1865 to 1900. More detailed information on these sources is in the United States Research Outline.

The United States made records of the individuals who came into Michigan from Canada. The library has a film copy of these records in:

United States Immigration and Naturalization Services. Detroit District Manifest Records of Aliens Arriving from Foreign Contiguous Territory: Arrivals at Detroit, Michigan, 1906–1954. Washington, D.C.: Immigration and Naturalization Services, [195?]. (On 117 FHL films.)

There are also Passenger and Alien Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at the Port of Detroit, MI, 1946–1957, available at the National Archives (National Archives on 23 rolls; series M1479).

Records of ethnic groups are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under MICHIGAN - MINORITIES. A few sources for the Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa Indians in Michigan are listed under MICHIGAN - NATIVE RACES.