American Samoa Emigration and Immigration

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How to Find the Records[edit | edit source]

Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Polynesian Immigrants Records[edit | edit source]

Polynesian Immigrants Records, 1876-1914, are available at the National Archives of Fiji. These are records of Pacific Islanders who were brought to Fiji as laborers. Although the first ship arrived in 1864, records were not kept until 1876. Laborers came from New Hebrides (Vanuatu), Solomon Islands, Banks and Torres Straits Islands, Gilbert Islands (Kiribati), and Papua New Guinea. There were about 23,000 who went to Fiji. Others were taken to Queensland, Samoa, and New Caledonia. This movement of people is often referred to as "black-birding". These records include general shipping records, agents, and recruiters' journals, plantation records, and personnel documents.

  • To search the records, contact the National Archives by e-mail at archives@govnet.gov.fj. They will advise you of information they need to conduct a search and any fees involved.

Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or coming into (immigrating) a country. For Finland, emigration information is usually found in passport records and passenger lists. The information in these records generally includes the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, and destinations and their places of origin.

Background[edit | edit source]

  • Mission work in the Samoas began in late 1830, when John Williams of the London Missionary Society arrived from the Cook Islands and Tahiti.
  • At the turn of the twentieth century, international rivalries in the latter half of the century were settled by the 1899 Tripartite Convention in which Germany and the United States partitioned the Samoan Islands into two: the eastern island group became a territory of the United States and is today known as American Samoa; the western islands, by far the greater landmass, became known as German Samoa, after Britain gave up all claims to Samoa and in return accepted the termination of German rights in Tonga and certain areas in the Solomon Islands and West Africa.
  • The following year, the U.S. formally annexed its portion, a smaller group of eastern islands, one of which contains the noted harbor of Pago Pago. After the United States Navy took possession of eastern Samoa for the United States government, the existing coaling station at Pago Pago Bay was expanded into a full naval station, known as United States Naval Station Tutuila and commanded by a commandant.
  • Of the population, 88.9% are native Samoans, 3.7% are other Pacific Islanders, 3.6% are Asian, 2.7% are mixed, and 1.2% are of other origins.[1]

What Can These Records Tell Me?[edit | edit source]

Visas: documents proving legal permission given by the authority of a country for a person who is not a citizen of that country to enter and to remain there for a specified length of time. Visas may include the following information:

  • Name of petitioner
  • Residence of petitioner
  • Date of birth
  • Month and year of visit
  • Intended length of stay in the country
  • Areas authorized to visit

Petitions for naturalization: formal applications submitted during the process of becoming a citizen of the country to which an individual has immigrated. Petitions for naturalization may contain the following information:

  • Name of petitioner
  • Residence of petitioner
  • Date of birth
  • Month and year of immigration
  • Court where petition is filed

Passports: travel documents, usually issued by the government of a nation, that certify the identity and nationality of the holder for the purpose of international travel. Passports may contain the following information:

  • Name of petitioner
  • Residence of petitioner
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Physical description of petitioner

Passenger Lists: documentation of ship passengers. Passenger lists may contain the following information:

  • Name of petitioner
  • Residence of petitioner
  • Month and year of immigration
  • Name of ship
  • Date of departure and arrival
  • Ports of departure and arrival
  • Occupation
  • Names of family members
  • Purpose of travel

Other records my include: Travel permits: documents allowing passengers to travel when they have not purchased a ticket in advance and the ticket office of the station they are traveling from is closed. Affidavits: written, sworn statements of fact voluntarily made under an oath to a person authorized to do so by law.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "American Samoa", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Samoa, accessed 12 April 2021.