Mississippi Emigration and Immigration
Most pre-statehood settlers of Mississippi came from the older Southern states along the Atlantic seaboard. Some came from New England and a few colonial French families settled in the Biloxi area. Most of the settlers, however, were of Ulster Scottish, English, and northern European ancestry. Blacks outnumbered whites in Mississippi from the middle of the nineteenth century until the middle of the twentieth. Most of the Indians were gone by the late 1830s, but there are still a few thousand Choctaws living in east central Mississippi.
The earliest European settlers came by ship to the Gulf Coast. A few early American settlers also came this way, but most of them came overland via the Natchez Trace, which ran from Memphis, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. Others came from Athens, Georgia and traveled westward through the Tombigbee River settlements of Alabama.
Major ports of entry to Mississippi have been Biloxi, Gulfport, and Pascagoula. No passenger lists are available for Biloxi. The Family History Library and the National Archives have the passenger lists of Gulfport for 1904 to 1954 and of Pascagoula for 1903 to 1935. Passenger lists for other ports, especially New Orleans, should be consulted. More detailed information on immigration sources is in the United States Research Outline.
Helpful studies of Mississippi history, genealogy, and immigration are found in Cyril Edward Cain, Four Centuries on the Pascagoula, Two Volumes. (State College, Mississippi: C.E. Cain, 1953-1962; Family History Library book 976.21 H2c).