Difference between revisions of "Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration"

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| link5=[[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration|Emigration and Immigration]]
 
| link5=[[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration|Emigration and Immigration]]
 
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==How to Find the Records==
 +
Most immigrants from overseas landed at '''East Coast ports, primarily New York City''', before proceeding to Wisconsin. If an immigrant identified Milwaukee as the port of entry, it is possible that he or she arrived first at a port in Canada, and then came through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to enter the United States at Wisconsin. See [[United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records|'''United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records'''.]]
 
=== Online Resources ===
 
=== Online Resources ===
 
*'''1500s-1900s''' [https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7486/?arrival=_wisconsin-usa_52&count=50 All U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s] at Ancestry; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin; ''Also at [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10017/passenger-immigration-lists-1500-1900?s=1&formId=pili&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar MyHeritage]''; index only ($)
 
*'''1500s-1900s''' [https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/7486/?arrival=_wisconsin-usa_52&count=50 All U.S. and Canada, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500s-1900s] at Ancestry; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin; ''Also at [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10017/passenger-immigration-lists-1500-1900?s=1&formId=pili&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar MyHeritage]''; index only ($)
 
*'''1895-1956''' [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10942/united-states-border-crossings-from-canada-1895-1956?s=1&formId=collection_10942:searchFormDef&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=master,immigration&p=1&qevents-event1=Event+et.any+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar&qevents=List United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956] at MyHeritage; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*'''1895-1956''' [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10942/united-states-border-crossings-from-canada-1895-1956?s=1&formId=collection_10942:searchFormDef&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=master,immigration&p=1&qevents-event1=Event+et.any+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar&qevents=List United States, Border Crossings from Canada, 1895-1956] at MyHeritage; index & images ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 +
*'''1922-1963''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2421844 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists, 1922-1963] at FamilySearch - [[Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 +
*'''1922-1958''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2140606 Minnesota, Duluth and Wisconsin, Superior Crew Lists, 1922-1958.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Minnesota, Duluth and Wisconsin, Superior Crew Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 +
*'''1925-1956''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2299361 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Ship Arrivals, 1925-1956.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Ship Arrivals - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 +
*'''1925-1956''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2299401 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Manitowoc, 1925-1956.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Manitowoc - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 +
====Cultural Groups====
 
*'''1920-1939''' [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10924/germany-bremen-emigration-lists-1920-1939?s=1&formId=collection_10924:searchFormDef&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=master,immigration&p=1&qevents-event1=Event+et.any+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar&qevents=List Germany, Bremen Emigration Lists, 1920-1939] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*'''1920-1939''' [https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10924/germany-bremen-emigration-lists-1920-1939?s=1&formId=collection_10924:searchFormDef&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=master,immigration&p=1&qevents-event1=Event+et.any+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar&qevents=List Germany, Bremen Emigration Lists, 1920-1939] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
*'''1922-1963''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2421844 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists, 1922-1963] at FamilySearch - [[Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10019/germans-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Germans Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10019/germans-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Germans Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10030/italians-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili,immigration-norels&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Italians Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10030/italians-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili,immigration-norels&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Italians Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10029/russians-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili,immigration-norels&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Russians Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
 
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10029/russians-immigrating-to-the-united-states?s=1&formId=immigration-norels&formMode=1&useTranslation=1&exactSearch=&action=query&initialFormIds=immigration,pili,immigration-norels&p=1&qimmigration=Event+et.immigration+ep.Wisconsin+epmo.similar Russians Immigrating to the United States] at MyHeritage; index only ($); includes those with Destination of Wisconsin
  
 
 
The [[United States Emigration and Immigration|United States Emigration and Immigration]] page lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include references to people who settled in [[Wisconsin Genealogy|Wisconsin]]. [[Tracing Immigrant Origins|Tracing Immigrant Origins]] introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's hometown.
 
 
See the Ethnic Groups and Naturalization and Citizenship sections for further information
 
 
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== People ==
+
==== Passport Records Online ====
 
+
*'''1795-1925''' - {{RecordSearch|2185145|United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925}} at [https://www.familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] — index and images
Small groups of '''French''' fur traders came to the Green Bay and Prairie du Chien areas in the 1700s. They were followed by lead miners from the Southern states who settled near the Galena diggings on the Illinois border in the 1820s. Substantial immigration from the northeastern states began in the 1830s. Later American-born settlers were usually from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
+
*'''1795-1925''' - [http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1174 U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925] Index and images, at Ancestry ($)
  
Between 1840 and 1860, hundreds of thousands of immigrants came from Europe. Most came by way of the [[Erie Canal|Erie Canal]] and the Great Lakes to the port of Milwaukee, or they traveled up the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers and then by the railroads, which crossed the area soon after Wisconsin statehood.  
+
===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.
 +
====National Archives and Records Administration====
 +
*The [https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/overview '''National Archives (NARA)'''] has immigration records for arrivals to the United States from foreign ports between approximately 1820 and 1982. The records are arranged by [https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/passenger-arrival.html#https://www.archives.gov/research/immigration/passenger-arrival.html#where '''Port of Arrival (See Part 5).''']
 +
:*You may do research in immigration records in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001. 
 +
*Some [https://www.archives.gov/locations '''National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) regional facilities'''] have selected immigration records; call to verify their availability or check the online Microfilm Catalog.
 +
*Libraries with large genealogical collections, such as the [https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog '''FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah'''] and the [https://acpl-cms.wise.oclc.org/genealogy '''Allen County Piblic Library'''] also have selected NARA microfilm publications.
 +
:*Order copies of passenger arrival records with [https://www.archives.gov/files/forms/pdf/natf-81.pdf '''NATF Form 81'''.]
  
The most numerous of the foreign-born immigrants were from Germany. They came from the Catholic provinces of southern Germany and from Protestant eastern Germany.
 
  
*Freund, Hanns Egon. ''Emigration Records From the German Eifel Region, 1834-1911.: with Major Emphasis on Those Emigrants Whose Final Destinations Were Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan''. Crystal Lake, Illinois: McHenry County, Illinois Genealogical Society, 1991.
+
====U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services Genealogy Program====
 +
The [https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy '''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=====
 +
*[https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/historical-record-series/a-files-numbered-below-8-million '''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.
 +
*[https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy/historical-record-series/alien-registration-forms-on-microfilm-1940-1944 '''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.
 +
*[https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/historical-record-series/registry-files-march-2-1929-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.
 +
*[https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/historical-record-series/visa-files-july-1-1924-march-31-1944'''Visa Files:'''] Visa Files are original arrival records of immigrants admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924.<ref>"Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.</ref>
  
Before the Civil War, the Irish were the second largest immigrant group in Wisconsin. There was also considerable emigration from England, Scotland, Wales, and British North America.  
+
=====Requesting a Record=====
 +
*[https://genealogy.uscis.dhs.gov/ '''Web Request Page'''] allows you to request a records, pay fees, and upload supporting documents (proof of death).
 +
*[https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy/genealogical-records-help/record-requests-frequently-asked-questions '''Record Requests Frequently Asked Questions''']
  
Many Norwegians came to Wisconsin before the Civil War and by 1900 had become the second-largest foreign-born group in the state. They were joined by settlers from southern and eastern Europe, especially Poles and Czechs, and by smaller groups of Russians, Yugoslavs, Italians, and Greeks. At the beginning of World War I in 1914, the majority of Wisconsin residents were of German origin or descent.  
+
==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.
 +
*[[U. S. Immigration Records: Finding the Town of Origin|'''U. S. Immigration Records: Finding the Town of Origin''']]
 +
==Background==
 +
*Small groups of '''French''' fur traders came to the Green Bay and Prairie du Chien areas in the 1700s.
 +
*They were followed by '''lead miners from the Southern states''' who settled near the Galena diggings on the Illinois border in the 1820s.
 +
*Substantial immigration from the northeastern states began in the 1830s. Later American-born settlers were usually from '''New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.'''
 +
*Between 1840 and 1860, the most numerous of the foreign-born immigrants were from '''Germany'''. They came from the Catholic provinces of southern Germany and from Protestant eastern Germany.
 +
*Before the Civil War, the '''Irish''' were the second largest immigrant group in Wisconsin.
 +
*There was also considerable emigration from '''England, Scotland, Wales, and British North America.'''
 +
*Many '''Norwegians''' came to Wisconsin and by 1900 had become the second-largest foreign-born group in the state.  
 +
*They were joined by settlers from '''southern and eastern Europe, especially Poles and Czechs''', and by smaller groups of '''Russians, Yugoslavs, Italians, and Greeks'''.  
 +
*At the beginning of World War I in 1914, the majority of Wisconsin residents were of '''German''' origin or descent.
  
== County Histories ==
+
==Immigration Records==
 +
'''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 [[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration#Online Resources|'''Online Resources'''.]]
 +
===What can I find in them?===
 +
====[[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration #Online Resources|Information in Passenger Lists]]====
 +
*'''Before 1820''' - Passenger lists before 1820 included '''name, departure information and arrival details'''.  The names of wives and children were often not included. 
  
Many county histories contain information about ethnic groups that settled in those counties. County wiki pages contain information on available county histories.  
+
*'''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.
  
== Records  ==
+
*'''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.
  
The main port of entry to Wisconsin was Milwaukee, but no passenger lists are available for it or for other Wisconsin ports. Most immigrants from overseas landed at East Coast ports, primarily New York City, before proceeding to Wisconsin. If an immigrant identified Milwaukee as the port of entry, it is possible that he or she arrived first at a port in Canada, and then came through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to enter the United States at Wisconsin. This was an important route, particularly for the Norwegian immigrants.  
+
*'''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.
  
There are Canadian border crossing records for 1895–1949 (Family History Library films {{FHL|452590|title-id|disp=1561087–499}}) and soundex indexes for 1895–1924 (Family History Library films {{FHL|452590|title-id|disp=1472801–3201}}) and 1924–1952 (Family History Library films {{FHL|452590|title-id|disp=1570714–811}}).  
+
====[[Wisconsin Emigration and Immigration#Passport Records Online|Information in Passports]]  ====
 +
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:
  
An important nationwide source for locating published information about immigrants who came to America before about 1920 is P. William Filby, ''Passenger and Immigration Lists Index''. (See [[United States Emigration and Immigration]].)
+
*Birthplace 
 
+
*Birth date
The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists or indexes for American ports for the years 1800–1921 for Philadelphia, 1820–1943 for Boston and New York, and 1865–1900 for Canadian ports. Indexes have been published for many ethnic groups, such as the Czechs (1846–), Italians (1880–), Germans (1850–), Greeks (1885–), and Russians (1875–). More detailed information on immigration sources is in [[United States Emigration and Immigration]].
+
*Naturalization&nbsp;information
 
+
*Arrival information, if foreign born
You may also want to consult these volumes:
 
 
 
*Current, Richard Nelson. "A German State?" in ''Wisconsin: A Bicentennial History''. New York: Norton,1977. (Family History Library book {{FHL|28955|title-id|disp=977.5 H2cr}}.)
 
*Minert, Roger P., Jennifer A. Anderson; et al. ''German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 2, Wisconsin Northwest Protestant''. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2007.
 
*Minert, Roger P., Jennifer A. Anderson; et al. ''German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 3, Wisconsin Northeast Protestant''. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2007.
 
*Minert, Roger P., Jennifer A. Anderson; et al. ''German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 4, Wisconsin Southwest Protestant''. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2007.
 
*Minert, Roger P., Jennifer A. Anderson; et al. ''German Immigrants in American Church Records. v. 5, Wisconsin Southeast Protestant''. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2007.
 
*Sachtjen, Maude. ''Immigration to Wisconsin: A Thesis''. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin, 1928. (Family History Library book {{FHL|185811|title-id|disp=977.5 W2s}}; film {{FHL|185811|title-id|disp=844952 item 4}}.)
 
 
 
Records of ethnic groups, including Blacks, Danes, Finns, Germans, Norwegians, and Welsh, are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog under
 
 
 
::WISCONSIN - MINORITIES.
 
 
 
Records of Dutch, Danes, Belgians, and Germans from Russia are listed under
 
 
 
::WISCONSIN - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION.
 
 
 
 
 
== FamilySearch Historical Records ==
 
 
 
*'''1922-1958''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2140606 Minnesota, Duluth and Wisconsin, Superior Crew Lists, 1922-1958.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Minnesota, Duluth and Wisconsin, Superior Crew Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 
*'''1922-1963''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2421844 Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists, 1922-1963.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Wisconsin, Milwaukee Passenger and Crew Lists - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 
*'''1925-1956''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2299361 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Ship Arrivals, 1925-1956.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Ship Arrivals - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 
*'''1925-1956''' [https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2299401 Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Manitowoc, 1925-1956.] at [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch] - [[Wisconsin, Crew Lists of Vessels Arriving at Manitowoc - FamilySearch Historical Records|How to Use this Collection]]; index & images
 
  
== Websites ==
+
==In-country Migration==
 +
Most immigrants from Europe came by way of the [[Erie Canal|Erie Canal]] and the Great Lakes to the port of Milwaukee, or they traveled up the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers and then by the railroads, which crossed the area soon after Wisconsin statehood.
 +
=== Wisconsin Migration Routes ===
 +
[[Chippewa River]]{{·}} [[Lake Michigan]]{{·}} [[Lake Superior]]{{·}} [[Menominee River]]{{·}} [[Mississippi River]]{{·}} [[St. Croix River]]{{·}} [[Wisconsin River]]{{·}} [[Pecatonica Trail]]{{·}} [[Great Northern Railway (U.S.)]]
  
*[http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/subtopic.asp?tid=4 Immigration and Settlement]
+
==For Further Reading==
*[http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/turningpoints/tp-052/ 20th Century Migration]
+
The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:
 +
*{{FHL|350593|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration}}
 +
*{{FHL|808729|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration - History - 19th century}}
 +
*{{FHL|1372524|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Emigration and immigration - Indexes}}
 +
*{{FHL|452193|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Minorities}}
 +
*{{FHL|451451|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Biography}}
 +
*{{FHL|684104|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Genealogy}}
 +
*{{FHL|568320|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - Genealogy - Periodicals}}
 +
*{{FHL|688086|subject_id|disp=United States, Wisconsin - Minorities - History}}
  
== Sources  ==
+
== References ==
  
 
<references />  
 
<references />  

Latest revision as of 20:06, 10 April 2021

Wisconsin Wiki Topics
Wisconsin flag.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Wisconsin Background
Cultural Groups
Local Research Resources

How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Most immigrants from overseas landed at East Coast ports, primarily New York City, before proceeding to Wisconsin. If an immigrant identified Milwaukee as the port of entry, it is possible that he or she arrived first at a port in Canada, and then came through the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes to enter the United States at Wisconsin. See United States Immigration Online Genealogy Records.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]

Passport Records Online[edit | edit source]

Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]

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.

National Archives and Records Administration[edit | edit source]

  • You may do research in immigration records in person at the National Archives Building, 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408-0001.


U.S. Citizenship and and Immigration Services Genealogy Program[edit | edit source]

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[edit | edit source]
  • 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.[1]
Requesting a Record[edit | edit source]

Finding Town of Origin[edit | edit source]

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.

Background[edit | edit source]

  • Small groups of French fur traders came to the Green Bay and Prairie du Chien areas in the 1700s.
  • They were followed by lead miners from the Southern states who settled near the Galena diggings on the Illinois border in the 1820s.
  • Substantial immigration from the northeastern states began in the 1830s. Later American-born settlers were usually from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.
  • Between 1840 and 1860, the most numerous of the foreign-born immigrants were from Germany. They came from the Catholic provinces of southern Germany and from Protestant eastern Germany.
  • Before the Civil War, the Irish were the second largest immigrant group in Wisconsin.
  • There was also considerable emigration from England, Scotland, Wales, and British North America.
  • Many Norwegians came to Wisconsin and by 1900 had become the second-largest foreign-born group in the state.
  • They were joined by settlers from southern and eastern Europe, especially Poles and Czechs, and by smaller groups of Russians, Yugoslavs, Italians, and Greeks.
  • At the beginning of World War I in 1914, the majority of Wisconsin residents were of German origin or descent.

Immigration Records[edit | edit source]

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?[edit | edit source]

Information in Passenger Lists[edit | edit source]

  • 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.

Information in Passports[edit | edit source]

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:

  • Birthplace
  • Birth date
  • Naturalization information
  • Arrival information, if foreign born

In-country Migration[edit | edit source]

Most immigrants from Europe came by way of the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to the port of Milwaukee, or they traveled up the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers and then by the railroads, which crossed the area soon after Wisconsin statehood.

Wisconsin Migration Routes[edit | edit source]

Chippewa River · Lake Michigan · Lake Superior · Menominee River · Mississippi River · St. Croix River · Wisconsin River · Pecatonica Trail · Great Northern Railway (U.S.)

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

The FamilySearch Library has additional sources listed in their catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Genealogy", at USCIS, https://www.uscis.gov/records/genealogy, accessed 26 March 2021.