Alabama Emigration and Immigration

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The port Mobile Alabama, a possible immigrant place of arrival.

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

During the early 1700s, some French and Spanish families immigrated to the southern coastal area, but most pre-statehood settlers of Alabama came from the older southern states, especially North Carolina and Georgia. Many of these were brought to the state. Most American Indians cotton planters of English or Ulster Scots origin. Many slaves were were moved westward to Oklahoma by 1839, but a few hundred Creek Indians still live in southern Alabama.

Southern Ports[edit | edit source]

Mobile has been a port of entry for overseas immigrants since early colonial times. Relatively few overseas immigrants who came in the 1800s stayed in Alabama. The place to start your Alabama passenger list search is the online Immigration & Travel Collection at Ancestry ($). The Family History Library and the National Archives have the following indexes and records accessible onsite in their facilities:

Indexes to passengers arriving at Mobile are:

  • Connick, Lucille Mallon. Lists of Ships Passengers, Mobile, Alabama. Two Volumes. Mobile, Alabama: L.M. Connick, 1988. FHL book 976.122 W3c. Volume One has passenger lists for 1838 to 1840; Volume Two has lists for 1841 to 1860. These provide the ship’s name; the name of the ship’s captain or pilot; and the names of passengers, often with their age, country of birth, occupation, and residence.
  • Hageness, MariLee Beatty. Passports and Ship Passengers 1849-1862: Mobile, Alabama. Anniston, Ala.: M.B. Hageness, 2002.
  • United States. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Index to Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, 1890–1924. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T0517. Washington, DC: Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1957. FHL films 1324938–63.

Mobile and other southern ports passenger lists:

  • United States. Bureau of Customs. Copies of Lists of Passengers Arriving at Miscellaneous Ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at Ports on the Great Lakes, 1820–1873. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0575. Washington, DC: National Archives, 1964. FHL film 830234. The film includes portions of Mobile lists for 1832 and 1849 to 1852.
  • 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 Publications, M0334. Washington, DC: National Archives and Record Services, 1960. (Family History Library FHL films 418161–348. This film indexes Mobile passengers for 1832, 1849 to 1852.

Colonial Settlers[edit | edit source]

Migration[edit | edit source]

A source listing persons traveling through Indian lands is:

  • Potter, Dorothy Williams. Passports of Southeastern Pioneers, 1770–1823: Indian, Spanish, and Other Land Passports for Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, North and South Carolina. Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1982. FHL book 975 W4p. During the period from 1798 to 1819 Alabama was part of the Mississippi Territory. These records list people going from the Mississippi Territory elsewhere, or coming into the Mississippi Territory from other states. The records also mention people who obtained passports from the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Cherokee Indian agencies to pass through their land. The book is well indexed.

What was it like to move from Virginia to Alabama in the early 1800s? Owen's journal of his trip is available online at Internet Archive - free.[1]

How did your migrant ancestor find the correct destination in Alabama? Quite possibly they had a copy of Brown's book:

  • Brown, Samuel R. The Western Gazetteer or Emigrant's Directory, Containing a Geographical Description of the Western States and Territories, viz. The States of Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Mississippi: and the Territories of Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Michigan, and North-Western. Auburn, N.Y.: H.C. Southwick, 1817. Digital versions at NIU Library Digitization Projects and World Vital Records ($).

General Information[edit | edit source]

Family History Library

Alabama immigration records are listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


Informational Articles

Nearly 50 million people have immigrated to the United States. You can gain essential information from immigration records such as your ancestors’ arrival date, port of departure and arrival, names of other family or community members, and the country they came from.

"The United States Emigration and Immigration" Wiki article lists several important sources for finding information about immigrants. These nationwide sources include many references to people who settled in Alabama. Tracing Immigrant Origins introduces principles, search strategies, and additional record types you can use to identify an immigrant ancestor’s original hometown.

Online Genealogy Records[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "John Owen's Journal of His Removal from Virginia to Alabama in 1818," Publications of the Southern History Association, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Apr. 1897):89-97. Digitized by Internet Archive.