Maine Emigration and ImmigrationEdit This Page
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The United States Research Outline "Emigration and Immigration" section 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 to New England is Boston. The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists for Boston from 1820 to March 1874 and 1883 to 1943 (listed in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under MASSACHUSETTS, SUFFOLK, BOSTON - EMIGRATION AND IMMIGRATION). The following indexes are also available:
1820-1874. These years are indexed in United States, Bureau of Customs, A Supplemental Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic & Gulf Coast Ports (excluding New York) 1820-1874 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives Records Services, 1960; FHL films 418161-348).
1848-1891. These years are indexed in United States, Bureau of Customs, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, 1820-1891: with index 1848-1891 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives Record Service, 1959-1960; on 397 FHL films starting at 205656).
1902-1940. These years are indexed in the United States, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Jan. 1, 1902-Dec. 31, 1920; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Aug. 1, 1891-1935; Book indexes to Boston Passenger Lists, 1899-1940, National Archives Microfilm Publications (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Service, 1944-1945, 1956; on 597 FHL films starting at 1724620).
The Massachusetts State Archives also has Boston passenger lists for 1848 to 1891. This collection includes records for the nine years missing from the National Archives records (1874-1883). The Family History Library does not have lists for the years 1874 to 1883.
Canadian Border Crossing Records
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.
The Family History Library has copies of both kinds of immigration records. 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.
Border Crossing Lists 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. 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; FHL 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; FHL 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 (FHL films 1472801-1473201).
Soundex Index to Entries into the St. Albans, Vermont District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1924-1952 (FHL 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 the "Emigration and Immigration" section of the United States Research Outline.
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. (FHL films 830237-44.) 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. (FHL 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 FHL 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. (FHL 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. (FHL 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. (FHL 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-. (FHL book Ref 973 W32p; some of the volumes are on five FHL 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.
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