Louisiana Emigration and Immigration
Pre-statehood settlers of Louisiana generally came from eastern Canada, France, Germany, the West Indies, Spain, and Africa. During the Revolutionary War many other immigrants arrived from the Atlantic states. When the territory was formed, large numbers of Americans from southern Ohio moved to this new acquisition.
New Orleans has always been Louisiana's major port.
Slaves were imported from Africa and the Caribbean. The French brought indentured servants and convicts into Louisiana.
The Irish were the largest immigrant group in Louisiana during the nineteenth century. They settled mainly during the 1840s and 1850s. Large numbers of Germans arrived in two waves, one just after 1810 and the second between 1840 and 1860. Small numbers of Scandinavians came in the 1820s. Some Mexicans settled here in the 1830s. Later immigrant groups included Italians, Hungarians, and Slavs.
Records and histories of ethnic groups in Louisiana, including Acadians (“Cajuns”), Blacks, Canary Islanders, Chinese, Creoles, French, Germans, and Yugoslavs, are listed in FamilySearch Catalog under: LOUISIANA-MINORITIES
To learn more about the earliest European settlers, see:
- Conrad, Glenn R. The First Families of Louisiana. Baton Rouge, La.: Claitor's, 1970. 2 vols. FHL Book 976.3 D2c
Dr. Marianne S. Wokeck created a detailed list of "German Immigrant Voyages, 1683-1775" to Colonial America. Destinations include Louisiana (1721). She published the list in an Appendix to:
- Wokeck, Marianne S. Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999. FHL Book 970 W2w.
Spain recruited Canary Islanders to fight against the British in the American Revolution. See Spain in the American Revolution. There’s a book in English about The Canary Islanders of Louisiana that has names of recruits, their wives and children and some ages of the children.
Louisiana received many Irish immigrants from early years of settlement and especially throughout much of the 19th century. The influx of Irish escalated during the Irish Great Famine, from 1846-1851 as New Orleans served as a gateway to many who passed through using the Mississippi River to migrate to other states.
The major port of entry to Louisiana has been New Orleans.
A number of colonial immigrants came to Louisiana from the Canary Islands, which belonged to Spain, see:
- Villeré, Sidney Louis. The Canary Islands Migration to Louisiana, 1778-1783: The History and Passenger Lists of the Isleños Volunteer Recruits and Their Families. Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1972. FHL Book 976.3 W3v.
- "French Immigrants to Louisiana 1796-1800," The Southern History Association, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Mar. 1907):106-112. Digitized by Internet Archive - free.
Lists of some of the colonial passengers have been published and are at the Family History Library. The Family History Library and the National Archives also have microfilms of:
- Original passenger lists for New Orleans (1820-1921)
- Indexes (1820-50, 1853-1952)
- Quarterly summaries of passenger lists for New Orleans (1820-75)
The National Archives also has:
- Passenger lists for New Orleans (1903-45)
- Five of the six volumes of Passenger Lists . . . Port of New Orleans. These are typescripts of lists from some years between 1813 and 1867. Each volume contains an index.
FamilySearch is in the process of digitizing these collections:
- Louisiana, New Orleans Passenger Lists (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- United States, Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Atlantic and Gulf Coast Ports (FamilySearch Historical Records)
Further information on immigration sources is in United States Emigration and Immigration.