The United States was founded by people who set out to discover new lands, new opportunities and a better way of life. At the turn of the 20th century, almost 2 million European immigrants came to the U.S., despite the harrowing fact that one in seven travelers died during the transatlantic voyage. Our ancestors brought with them family, friends, and a wealth of culture that contributed to the melting pot that is American society today.
The history of immigration in the U.S. is divided into four major periods of mass migration. During the colonial period in the 17th century, about 175,000 people from England emigrated to the burgeoning New World. The mid-19th century brought more immigrants from Northern Europe. In the early 20th century most new immigrants came from Southern and Eastern Europe. Then, in the middle of the 20th century, an influx of immigrants came from Latin America and Asia.
You can find multiple sources of immigration and travel records here on findmypast that will help you further your online family history research.
Information you may find in Immigration and Travel records includes:
Although immigrants have never been required to apply for citizenship, any foreign-born resident may apply for U.S. citizenship privileges and responsibilities. The process for U.S. citizenship often took many years and the application to become "naturalized" was an early step in the process.
Naturalization papers are important resources that provide lots of information about an immigrant. This includes listing their place of origin, birth name and "Americanized" name, place of residence, and the date of their arrival in the U.S. These papers are not just fascinating, but contain unique facts about your ancestors arrival in the country as well as detailed information about their birthplace.
findmypast's passenger list collections are a valuable online resource, tracking your ancestors movement across the Atlantic Ocean. You may use these travel records to follow your ancestor's emigration overseas from places such as Germany, Italy, Russia and Ireland, and learn new information such as the name of their ship, the destination port, and the names of their travel companions.