Emigration and Immigration Records
There are three types of immigration records:
- Records of departure from their country of origin (Departure Records)
- Records of arrivals in ports of entry (Arrival Records)
- Records of passengers in transit to their final destination.
It’s convenient to say that most of these documents were not researched yet, so we have to be patients and to wait for further results. 1
All European countries maintained consulates working to meet the needs and often to protect the interests of their citizens. Many of these consulates kept records of transactions taken by their citizens residing in the destination countries. Most commonly these appear to record requests for passports, identification proofs, registration of births, or assistance with an inheritance or other legal problem in the country of origin. On occasion the consul appears to go beyond this to an effort to identify all emigrants. In either case these records identify emigrants and provide more of the story of the emigration process.
At certain time periods, the way in which municipal authorities were able to or required to ascertain that the proposed emigrant was qualified to emigrate was to publish a notice of the intended emigration in the official provincial government bulletin. In Spain and Italy, where some of these have been found, the bulletins were issued weekly or more frequently. Again, the time period during which this procedure was used is limited andtheir use not fully studied. See Figure 3. Published notice of intent to emigrate, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.
In some ports the only requirement, or one significant requirement, was a health check performed by a port physician or provided by the shipping company. These checks may have resulted in a single page certificate of good health, stating the passenger was free from diseases such as tuberculosis or glaucoma, the same as were checked by United States port authorities before admitting immigrants.
CISEI of Genoa, established as a Research Centre on Italian Emigration, aims to constitute a database which is still largely incomplete, starting from existing archive data present in Genoa (first port of departure during the period of Italian emigration) or ports of arrival for Italian emigrants, as well as to organise data from other Italian archive sources.
Archive Project Of Emigrants Leaving From The Port Of Genoa – The purpose of the researches developed in this project is to create a data base that contains names and other information about people leaving the Port of Genoa, as point of departure for Italian and foreign emigrants with any destination in the world.The study takes into consideration passenger traffic coming from Italy and continental Europe in the period: 1833 – 1852. The investigation is focused on the Registers of Maritime Health kept in the Genoa State Archive .
Approval to emigrate before departure
For paternalistic reasons and/or for control of population movement, governments enacted procedures to regulate emigration. At some time, requirements existing in most, if not all, countries included:
1) that the emigrant have completed military responsibilities;
2) that he or she was not wanted for criminal offences or trying to flee any authority;
3) that he or she was not trying to abandon family; and
4) that he or she, if under age, had permission from their father or other family authority.
The gathering of this documentation was handled by the port authorities, the local provincial governments or by a provincial level police authority such as the Questura in Italy or the Prefeture in France. Records of this type have thus far been found in France, Spain and Italy, but were likely required at least at some time period in all continental European countries.
La Questura: Napoli and Torino – That database has information of many Italians, who applied for their passports in Torino because they were travelling to France to reside on there or to travel in another ship from France (Le Havre, Nantes) to USA.
Passport registers, passport files, and miscellaneous records from the Historical Provinces Archives in Cádiz, Spain. Some of the passports were issued for internal use in Spain (salvoconductos o pasaportes para el interior) and others were issued to travel from Spain to other countries (pasaportes para el extranjero o ultramar). This collection is being published as images become available. Digitized by FamilySearch.
Military Absence Records
Both youth of the age for military service and local authorities responsible for the draft recognized that emigration was a means of avoiding military service. Although little study has been done of illegal emigration during this period, the largest group of illegal emigrants was most likely young men of conscription age. In Italy, provincial conscription lists often identify missing youth as having emigrated. In Spain, lists of those who did not report for draft registration were published in the provincial bulletins discussed above, indicating either the countries where the men were thought to have gone or that they were thought to be in a port city such as Cadiz, apparently a euphemism for the fact they had emigrated or were likely trying to do so.
Projects of Immigration of some governments in different countries included the intervention of immigration agents. They were in charge of promotion of emigration, recruiting passengers and sending them to American countries. These agents used to make passenger lists, and they are a valuable resource when shipping passenger lists are not found. In the case of Pyrénées-Atlantiques, in France, the passenger lists of two of these agents are much known: the J.B. Laplace list and the G. Apheça list. Records of the agent Jean Baptiste Laplace can be partially consulted in Christiane Bidot Naude’s database in Gen Francesa.
Published Announcements (Boletines Oficiales)
At certain time periods, the way in which municipal authorities were able to or required to ascertain that the proposed emigrant was qualified to emigrate was to publish a notice of the intended emigration in the official provincial government bulletin. In Spain and Italy, where some of these have been found, the bulletins were issued weekly or more frequently. Again, the time period during which this procedure was used is limited and their use not fully studied. Published notice of intent to emigrate, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain.
European Emigration Records, 1820-1925 – George R. Ryskamp, J.D., AG. Associate Professor of History, Brigham Young University. IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)