Tracing Immigrants Origin Population
Some countries kept records of their citizens, temporary residents, and transients. This was especially true in large cities and seaports. The Family History Library has few of these records. However, if you know where the emigrant lived or the port he or she left from, write to the city or regional archives to see if such records are available.
Police Registration. In Germany and other European countries, the police registered citizens and transients. The Family History Library has registers of transients in Hamburg that give places of origin. You need to know the year the emigrant was in Hamburg to use the indexes to these records.
Hotel Registers. Some seaports and larger cities kept hotel registers of temporary residents and transients, including those awaiting emigration. The Family History Library does not have these records, but you can write to local archives and see if they exist for your seaport. For example, in Antwerp, Belgium, hotel registers were kept (with gaps) from 1834 to 1898. These are located at the Municipal Archives in Antwerp.
Population Registers. Population registers, similar to ongoing household censuses, were kept in Belgium and in the Netherlands. They can be extremely valuable in determining places of origin when families moved frequently. They list birthplaces or previous residences, but they can usually only be used if you know where the family lived.
A wiki article describing this collection is found at: