Mexico Emigration and Immigration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

  1. Archivo General de la nación (General Archives of the Nation)
  2. Instituciones Gubernamentales época moderna y contemporánea (Government Institutions modern and contemporary times)
  3. Administracion Publica Federal S XX (Federal and Public Administrations S XX)
  4. Secretaria de Gobernación Siglo XX (Secretary of the Interior Siglo XX)
  5. Departamento de Migración (Immigration Department)
  6. Departamento de Migración 201 (Immigration Department 201)
  7. Choose the nationality
  8. Choose a Caja (Box)
  9. Once you’re in a Caja you will see a list of names in alphabetical order.
  10. Click on the name of interest and you can see a summary of the information. You can order a copy of the original from the archive.
  • 1946-1971 Free Access: Africa, Asia and Europe, Passenger Lists of Displaced Persons, 1946-1971 Ancestry, free. Index and images. Passenger lists of immigrants leaving Germany and other European ports and airports between 1946-1971. The majority of the immigrants listed in this collection are displaced persons - Holocaust survivors, former concentration camp inmates and Nazi forced laborers, as well as refugees from Central and Eastern European countries and some non-European countries.

Passports[edit | edit source]

Cultural Groups[edit | edit source]

  • Emigrante Libanés Contains a database for Lebanese emigrants who went to Mexico. Includes registration cards and some photos.
  • 1850-1945 Kartei der Auswanderer nach Chile und Mexiko, 1850-1945 Index cards providing genealogical information on German-speaking immigrants and citizens of Chile and Mexico. Cards are arranged alphabetically by husband's surname, and provide information about place of origin, present address, when immigrated, place and date of birth and death, occupation, place and date of marriage, number of children, how many stillborn, which ones were married, living at home, and which children were illegitimate. Includes dates and places of birth and death, confirmation, marriage, religion, where and when children emigrated or moved; pedigrees for parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, often indicating when they immigrated to Latin America; and biographical and family-historical annotations.

Offices and Archives to Contact[edit | edit source]

Archivo General de Indias (General Archive of the Indies) in Seville, Spain[edit | edit source]

Archivo General de Indias
Edificio de la LonjaAv. De la Constitución
3 Edificio de La Cilla
C/Santo Tomás
541071 Seville
Spain
Contact Form
Telephone: (34) 95 450 05 28 Fax: (34) 95 421 94 85
Website
The Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, is the repository for Spanish documents dealing with the Spanish colonial period in the Americas. You may want to look for your ancestor’s records in the following sections of the archive:

  • Informaciones de Méritos y Servicios de los Descubridores/Conquistadores (Information on Merits and Services of the Discoverers and Conquerors). This contains documents of the ships and passengers who sailed to the colonies during the early 1500s.
  • Casa de Contratación de las Indias (House of Contracts of the Indies). This is an excellent documentation of passenger lists for ships sailing to the American colonies between 1509 and 1701, as well as petitions and licenses for permission to emigrate during the period 1534 to 1790. A digital index of Casa de Contratación de las Indias records as well as linked digital images are available online through Archivos Españoles en Red.
  • Informaciones y licencias de pasajeros (Passenger information and permits)'. This covers the period between 1534 and 1790 and comprises all the information or evidence that had to be submitted to the Casa de la Contratación by anyone who wished to travel to the newly-discovered territories, and the permits issued by the chairman and official judges of the Casa. In this information, passengers had to provide proof of their standing as long-term Christians. Therefore, some files include baptism and marriage certificates which give biographical and genealogical information not only on the passengers, but also on the people that accompanied them.
Online Records From Archivo General de Indias[edit | edit source]

Archivo General de la Nación de México[edit | edit source]

Archivo General de la Nación de México
Eduardo Molina 113, esquina con Albañiles
Col. Penitenciaría Ampliación Deleg. Venustiano Carranza C.P.
15350 México, D.F.

Tel.: (00 52) 51339900
Contact
Website

Of the collections contained in this archive, the most important for studying Spanish emigration is the Registro Nacional de Extranjeros (National Register of Foreign Nationals), drawn up from 1929 by the Directorate General of Migratory Services of the Governance Secretariat of Mexico.

It was compulsory for all foreign nationals living in the Republic of Mexico as of 1 May 1926 to be registered in this register. The records contain a registration booklet (passport) and personal identification of the applicant with his/her parentage. Said documents showed foreign nationals' legal entry or immigrant status.

The register included both foreign nationals entering Mexico between 1929 and 1942, and also those that the Migration Service managed to record entering between 1854 and 1929. The period with the most records runs from 1870 to 1942.

The Spanish immigrant group accounts for approximately 29% of all documents in the Registro Nacional de Extranjeros (National Registry of Foreigners), with about 52,000 people registered. The first Spanish national was registered in 1854. The documentation from the Migration Department consists of the forms Spanish nationals filled out when they entered the country, basically from 1930 to 1940.

  • Guía General de Fondos en Línea (catalog of records online) for the Archivo General de la Nación de Mexico. Use this link to get to the immigration cards for foreigners in Mexico. Click on the following links on the left side of the page in the order given below. As you click on each link, the list will expand with more options.
  1. Archivo General de la nación (General Archives of the Nation)
  2. Instituciones Gubernamentales época moderna y contemporánea (Government Institutions modern and contemporary times)
  3. Administracion Publica Federal S XX (Federal and Public Administrations S XX)
  4. Secretaria de Gobernación Siglo XX (Secretary of the Interior Siglo XX)
  5. Departamento de Migración (Immigration Department)
  6. Departamento de Migración 201 (Immigration Department 201)
  7. Choose the nationality
  8. Choose a Caja (Box)
  9. Once you’re in a Caja you will see a list of names in alphabetical order.
  10. Click on the name of interest and you can see a summary of the information. You can order a copy of the original from the archive.

Archivo Histórico del Instituto Nacional de Migración[edit | edit source]

Archivo Histórico del Instituto Nacional de Migración
Av. Ejército Nacional 862.
Col. Los Morales C.P. 11540 México D.F.

Tel.: (00 52) 53872400 ext. 18417
Website
This is an institutional archive dating back to the creation of the Migration Department in 1926, and is the earliest predecessor of the National Institute of Migration.

This archive holds around half a million case files in over one hundred identified series. These series contain documents referring to population movements both of foreign nationals and of Mexicans emigrating to the United States who began processing applications for various reasons: settlement, emigration, repatriation, citizenship, diverse licences, etc.

The archive holds an important series of "refugees", comprising data sheets of exiled Spanish republicans, and also other exiles from Latin America who arrived up to the 1960's.



Finding the Town of Origin in Mexico[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Mexico, see Mexico Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Mexico Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.

Immigration Into Mexico[edit | edit source]

  • European immigration to Mexico started with Hernán Cortez in 1521. Many Spaniards, looking for new opportunities and a better life, came to settle the new land. Indian villages, towns, and cities were overtaken or replaced by the Spanish.
  • During the colonial period, the kings of Spain tried, through legislation, to keep other Europeans away from Mexico.
  • After gaining independence, Mexico started to encourage more non-Spanish immigration. Mexico wanted the trade and industry that foreigners brought.
  • In 1824, a law was passed that offered land and security to non-Spanish foreigners.
  • Most immigrants arrived at the major port of Veracruz or crossed the United States’ border, some after arriving in Galveston.
  • Of those who came, the largest groups were those seeking the freedom to practice their religion. Among them were the Mennonites and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Many people from Lebanon and Syria emigrated to Mexico in the early 1900s. During this same period, German, Polish, Chinese, Swedish, Italian, French, and British citizens also came in small groups, usually integrating into the community after a few years or a generation.

Emigration From Mexico[edit | edit source]

  • The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 and the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 set the boundaries between United States and Mexico. Since that period there has been a continual emigration from Mexico into the United States.
  • With the beginning of the Civil War, the need for laborers was felt by the southern plantations. As the slaves were freed, Mexican laborers began to do the work previously done by them. There were neither regulations nor border patrols until the late 1890s.
  • In the early 1900s, the system for obtaining migrant workers became more organized. Companies began setting up recruiters who arranged for the migrants’ travel and stay in the states. For example, in 1909 an official labor contract' was issued for 1,000 immigrant workers in California.
  • In 1910, the United States set up Immigration Services in the border towns.
  • During the Depression many of the Mexican migrant workers went back to Mexico. But as the economy later improved, the migrant workers returned to the United States.

What Can Be Found in the Records[edit | edit source]

  • Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving or entering Mexico. These lists are usually found as passenger lists and records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrant’s name, age, occupation, destination, and place of residence or birthplace.
  • A passport usually includes a person’s name, physical description, nationality, occupation, birthplace, birth date, and spouse.
  • Other emigration sources include records of permission to emigrate, passenger lists, and immigrant arrivals. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ name, age, occupation, destination, and country of origin.

Border Crossing Records[edit | edit source]

Birder crossing records usually list the name, age, birth date, and birthplace of the immigrant, as well as the date of their crossing, their intended destination, and the names of others who may have been traveling with them. Some records include pictures. These records come in two forms: a short form (index card) and a manifest. If you find your ancestor in a short form record, be sure to try to locate the longer manifest.

The short forms usually contain the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Sex
  • Citizenship ("nationality")
  • Race Last place of residence
  • Destination
  • Port and date of admission
  • Status as immigrant or non immigrant.

The number annotated to the right of the person's name or gender is generally the "real" manifest number that is used, along with the date of arrival, to locate the person's statistical manifest--which contains additional information--in a separate series of card manifests. Sometimes, information was simply typewritten onto a blank card instead of a form.

The manifest usually contains the following information:

  • Name
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Place of birth
  • Physical description
  • Occupation
  • Ability to read and write and in what language
  • Place of last permanent residence
  • Destination
  • Purpose for entering U.S.
  • Intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or of returning to the country of previous residence
  • Head tax status
  • Previous citizenship
  • Name and address of the friend or relative whom the alien intended to join
  • Persons accompanying the alien
  • Name and address of the alien's nearest relative or friend in the country from which he or she came
  • If the alien had ever been in the U.S. in the past, the dates and places of such residence or visitation are indicated.

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]