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Tracing Immigrants Arrival Archives and Libraries

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◄ Return to Portal:Tracing Immigrant Origins

In addition to the Family History Library, other record repositories have collections you can use to find an immigrant's place of origin. Most archives and libraries focus their historical and genealogical collections on the cities, towns, counties, regions, or subjects they serve. Some have a national focus. Many have immigrant and ethnic sources.

Archive and library collections often have family and local histories, biographies, church records, cemetery record collections, immigration records, courthouse records, census, organization records, directories, newspapers, and other records relating to people in their jurisdiction. Many have special indexes and manuscript collections found only in their facilities. For example, the Immigration History Research Center at the University of Minnesota has a large collection of ethnic newspapers on microfilm that is available through interlibrary loan. It also has fraternal society membership and insurance records in its non-circulating manuscript collections.

A growing number of organizations are devoted exclusively to collecting and preserving materials for specific immigrant or ethnic groups. An example is the—

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center
Augustana College
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201-2296
Tel: 309-794-7204
Fax: 309-794-7443

The genealogical and historical collections and services of many public universities and special libraries are described in—

Bentley, Elizabeth Petty. The Genealogists's Address Book. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1991. (FHL book 973 D24ben.)

Filby, P. William, comp. Directory of American Libraries with Genealogy or Local History Collections. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 1988. (FHL book 973 A3fi.)

Inventories, Registers, Catalogs. Many archives and libraries have catalogs, inventories, guides, or periodicals that describe their holdings. If possible, study these guides before visiting a repository. Copies at the Family History Library are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under [STATE or PROVINCE], [COUNTY], [CITY] - ARCHIVES AND LIBRARY - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS. One such guide for the University of Minnesota is—

Moody, Suzanna, and Joel Wurl, eds. The Immigration History Research Center: A Guide to Collections. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991. (FHL book 977.658 A3i.)