Departures of Italian immigrants from the port of Naples (Napoli)

Departures of Italian immigrants from the port of Naples (Napoli)

Naples was one of the capitals of the great Italian emigration between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. This role was officially recognized by Law No. 23 of January 31, 1901, which established that the embarkation of emigrants should only take place in the ports of Genoa, Naples (Napoli), and Palermo.

Records of immigrants in archives of the Banco di Napoli

We also explain in another post that the Banco di Napoli was responsible for managing the savings that Italians sent to their families, and that we can consult some details of these files online. Currently, it is possible to consult a list of the files generated with these shipments.

Records generated when requesting a passport

In order to emigrate legally, Italy required its citizens to obtain passports; it is still possible, in some cases, to access lists of passports granted or documents related to the application and obtaining of such passports.

For the issuance of the passport, valid for three years, the nulla osta was required, issued by the Mayor of the municipality, which contains the personal data, address, and profession of the emigrant, and the destination of the trip. A police report was also required.

The records from the Questura contain the documents required as part of the passport application. The Questura is the headquarters of the internal police that controls passports in each Italian province and is authorized to destroy any documentation over ten years old. However, in some State Archives, it is still possible to find some trace of documents of this type generated during the era of the great Italian emigration. So far, this type of document has been identified in the State Archives of Naples and the State Archives of Turin.

Records of passengers departing from the Port of Napoli

Next, we will see that records of the departures of immigrants from the Port of Napoli can be consulted today.

Database “Passports and Emigration” of the State Archive of Naples

This archive has put online the database “Passports and Emigration,” a subset of the general archive of the Police Headquarters of Naples (Questura di Napoli). This database contains a series of listings, each listing provides the name of the immigrant and the file number. Each file contains the documents produced as part of the passport application. These documents include information about the individual applying for the passport and about the accompanying persons. If we find data of interest, we can request a copy of that file from the archive.

There is a partial indexing of some listings, carried out by the Immigrant Ancestors Project, which can provide more information, but very few data are published.

The listings published by the State Archive of Naples and the Immigrant Ancestors Project are: