Maine Emigration and ImmigrationEdit This Page
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United States Emigration and Immigration lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. Tracing Immigrant Origins introduces the principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor's original hometown.
Pre-statehood settlers of Maine were generally of English and Ulster Scots descent. They came from Massachusetts and New Hampshire or directly from England. There were also a few hundred persons of Irish origin and free blacks in Maine. A large group of Germans came to the Waldo County area in the late 1700s.
Two groups of French descent compose 15 percent of the present population. The Acadians from Nova Scotia settled the Saint John Valley after 1763. A later French Canadian immigration from Quebec began after the Civil War.
During the 19th century, jobs in textile and lumber mills also attracted European immigrants of many nationalities, especially the Irish. In the 1870s the state recruited Swedish settlers to farms in Aroostook County.
The major port of entry for immigrants who settled in New England is Boston. Other ports of entry include New York and Canadian ports. The article United States Emigration and Immigration lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants to this country. These sources include many references to people who settled in Maine. Tracing Immigrant Origins introduces the principles, research strategies, and additional record types that may be used to identify an immigrant’s original hometown.
Canadian Border Crossing Records
Canadian border crossing records are of particular interest for Maine since it lies on the border of Canada. They are valuable genealogical records because they may include information such as the person's name, port or station of entry, date of entry, literacy, last residence, previous visits to the United States, and place of birth. There are two types of Canadian border crossing records:
- In 1895 Canadian shipping companies agreed to keep passenger lists, or manifests, of people who were in transit to the United States. These lists allowed U.S. immigration officials to inspect passengers bound for the United States via Canada. The U.S. inspectors worked at Canadian seaports and major cities of the interior, such as Quebec and Winnipeg. The manifests from all Canadian seaports and emigration stations were gathered together at St. Albans, Vermont.
- U.S. immigration officials kept records of passengers arriving by train along the Canadian border in the states from Washington State to Maine. The records of Canadian border crossings into any state between Washington and Maine, including Maine, were also gathered together at St. Albans, Vermont.
Since the records were sent to St. Albans, they are called Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont, District. Despite the name, the manifests are actually from ports and railroad stations all over Canada and the northern United States, not just Vermont.
The passenger lists are reproduced in two series:
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954 (608 rolls; Family History Library films 1561087-499). These are from seaports and railroad stations all over Canada and the northern United States. The Family History Library only has the manifests to January 1921.
Manifests of Passengers Arriving in the St. Albans, Vermont District through Canadian Pacific Ports, 1929-1949 (25 rolls; Family History Library films 1549387-411). Lists those in transit to the United States from Canadian Pacific seaports only.
Soundex Index to Canadian Border Entries through the St. Albans, Vermont District, 1895-1924 (Family History Library films 1472801-1473201).
Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952 (Family History Library films 1570714- 1570811).
Manifests for Pacific and Atlantic ports (M1464) provide two types of lists: the traditional passenger lists on U.S. immigration forms and monthly lists of names of aliens crossing the border on trains. These lists are arranged by month, then alphabetically by port and then railway. For more information about border crossing records, see United States Emigration and Immigration.
You can find incomplete 19th-century passenger lists for Portland-Falmouth, 1820 to March 1868, and Passamaquoddy, 1820 to 1859, in:
United States. Bureau of Customs. Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports of the Great Lakes, 1820-1873. National Archives Microfilm Publication. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1964. (Family History Library films 830231-44.) These records are available at the Family History Library and the National Archives.
For indexes to the above lists, see:
United States. Bureau of Customs. A Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic & Gulf Coast Ports (Excluding New York) 1820-1874. National Archives Microfilm Publication, Washington, D.C.: National Archives Record Services, 1960. (Family History Library films 418161-348.)
Portland (Maine) passenger lists are also available at the Family History Library and the National Archives for the years 1893 to 1930 . More recent lists are available at the National Archives. Indexes to the lists cover 1893 to 1954.
United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Portland, Maine, 1893-1943; Index, 1893-1954. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1944, 1986. (Index Family History Library film 1412619; passenger lists films 1449398-430.)
United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Book Indexes, Portland, Maine Passenger Lists 1907- 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1944. (Family History Library films 1375989-6000.) These are by arrival of ship 1907-1926, 1930.
Names of colonial immigrants listed in published sources are indexed in:
Bolton, Ethel Stanwood. Immigrants to New England, 1700-1775. Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1931. (Family History Library book 974 W2b; film 874195 item 3.) This list includes the person's name, date of entry, place of origin, place of settlement and includes some family information.
Coldham, Peter Wilson. The Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1776, and Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775. [Novato, California]: Brøderbund Software, 1996. (Family History Library compact disc number 9 part 350; not available at Family History Centers.) This is a comprehensive list of approximately 140,000 immigrants to America from Britain. Because Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1819, many immigrants to Maine should be listed. The entries may contain the person's hometown, emigration date, ship, and destination as well as the text of the document abstract.
Filby, P. William. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 15 Volumes. Detroit, Michigan: Gale research, 1981-. (Family History Library book Ref 973 W32p; some of the volumes are on five Family History Library films beginning with 1597960, items 4-6.) This work indexes over 2,500,000 passengers to America from 1650 to mid-1980 in published passenger lists. It includes the person's name, age, and year of arrival and provides a list of sources for all indexed passengers. The first three volumes are a combined alphabetical index published in 1981. Supplemental volumes have been issued annually.
A wiki article describing an online collecion is found at:
- United States, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic Gulf Coast Ports (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Maine. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, Inc., Family History Department, 1998, 2001.
- NOTE: All of the information from the original research outline has been imported into this Wiki site and is being updated as time permits.