Nevada Emigration and ImmigrationEdit This Page
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By 1826, American fur traders and trappers were in the area. During the 1840's, emigrant wagons passed through the Humboldt and Truckee River valleys on the way to California.
In 1849, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made the first non-Indian settlement in Nevada at Mormon Station, now Genoa. Settlers from Salt Lake City also colonized southern Nevada, such as the Las Vegas area, in the 1850's. Most of these settlers were called back to central Utah in 1857, but new efforts at colonization were under way in southern Nevada by the mid-1860's. Further information on these colonies is in Leonard J. Arrington, The Mormons in Nevada (Las Vegas, Nevada: Las Vegas Sun, 1979; FHL book 979.3 H2am; film LDS 1059488 item 7).
In 1859 the Comstock gold and silver deposits were discovered in the Carson Valley. Thousands of Cornish, Irish, and other miners came from California and established the boom town of Virginia City. By 1870, the census records listed over 40 percent of all Nevada residents as having come from Britain, Germany, Ireland, China, and Canada.
After 1880, Italians came in large numbers to Nevada. They were the largest immigrant group reported in the 1910 census, numbering nearly 3,000. German, English, Irish, and Greek immigrants were also major groups within the total 1910 population of just over 80,000. There have also been small numbers of Mexicans and Blacks in the state since the days of the early mining camps.
More recent immigrants to Nevada have included Basque sheepherders from the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain and France. Today it is estimated that between 5,000 and 10,000 Nevadans are of Basque descent. Helpful information on Basque settlement in Nevada is in Flavina Maria McCullough, The Basques in the Northwest: A Dissertation, 1945, Reprint (San Francisco, California: R and E Research Associates, 1974; FHL book 979 A1 No. 3; film 940048 item 4).
Descendants of the original inhabitants— the Paiute, Shoshoni, and Washo Indians— live on small reservations scattered through the state. A few records of American Indians are listed in the FHLC under NEVADA - NATIVE RACES. Others are listed in the subject section of the FHLC under the names of the tribes.
Books on Blacks, Chinese, and Yugoslavs in nineteenth-century Nevada are listed in the FHLC subject section under NEVADA - MINORITIES.
There was no single port of entry common to overseas immigrants who settled in Nevada. The Family History Library and the National Archives have passenger lists or indexes for east coast ports for 1820 to about 1940. West coast passenger arrival records do not begin until the 1880's. More detailed information on federal immigration sources is in the United States Research Outline.
The Oregon-California Trails Association is an educational organization that promotes the story of the westward migration to Nevada, among other places. Their site includes a personal name index to trail diaries, journals, reminiscences, autobiographies, newspaper articles, guidebooks and letters at http://www.paper-trail.org/