The main ports from Europe were Hamburg and Bremen in Germany, Goteborg in Sweden, Antwerp in Belgium, Le Havre and Bordeau in France, Rotterdam and Textel Island in The Netherlands, London in England, and Ireland.

Passenger Arrival Indexes, NYC, through LDS-FHC libraries:

Alphabetical Index 1820-1846, National Archives Microfiche M261 (103 rolls).

1820-1897 M237.

16 Jun 1897 thru 30 Jun 1902 T519 (115 rolls).

1897-1924 T715.

01 Jul 1902 thru 31 Dec 1943 T621 (755 rolls).

1924-1932 T715.

1932-1957 T715 (5219-8892)

No index for the years 1847-1896.

Soundex Index 1944-1948 M1417 (94 rolls).

1854 through 1882 saw high levels of German emigration. During this time period Hamburg and Bremen were the ports most frequently used.

The LDS genealogy library has a book for those who emigrated from Hessen-Nassau. It is otherwise out of print. It is known, in the German, as Band IV, Die Auswanderung aus dem Herzogtum Nassau (1806-1866), Wolf-Heino Struck. Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH Wiesbaden, 1966. That translates to:

Volume 4, The Emigration from the Duchy of Hessen-Nassau (1806-1866), compiled by Wolf-Heino Struck. Published by Franz Steiner Verlag GMBH in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1966. LDS Microfiche number 6001623 or Book Call number-location 943.41, Salt Lake City, Utah. Search by author or title.

In many cases a company or an individual posted articles in town halls, at the town square, and newspapers, advertising passage to North America (Canada and the USA). Emigrants could sign up as a group, or as a family, or as an individual. In many cases those who made it to a stopover in England remained there, or later journeyed on to the USA. Stopovers were London, Hull, and some ended up going overland or by boat to ports for Ireland. Usually, the company or individual organizing the voyage required emigrants to use certain ports - the ones where he profited the most. See for an example of ship travel while the USA was still a colony of Great Britain. After checking out with the local police, all along their route from their home to a port, emigrants encountered police patrols, toll bridges and rivers, thieves and scoundrels, and in some cases there is a paper trail. Some of this is on file in SLC. It is possible to pick up some clues in local church and civil archives. .

Up until 1861 a cotton market flourished between Louisiana and various European locations. Shiploads of cotton arrived usually at Le Havre, and then on the return voyage they carried a shipload of emigrants. In some cases the Le Harve to New Orleans route detoured to drop emigrants off in Baltimore, then continued on to Louisiana.

Events Leading to Emigration
Compare these dates/reasons to the time your ancestor emigrated.

1618-1648, The Thirty Year's War

1661-1664, The War Against the Turks

1668, The War of Devolution

1674, The Dutch War

1688-1697, The War of the League of Augsburg

1701-1714, The War of the Spanish Succession

1733-1735, The War of the Austrian Succession

1740-1742, 1744-1745, 1756-1763, The Schlesien Wars

1778-1779, The War of the Bavarian Succession

Germany 1650-1750 Factors Influencing Emigration and Migration

1661-1664, The War Against the Turks

1688-1697, The War of the League of Augsburg

1701-1714, The War of the Spanish Succession

1700-1720, Settlement of Virginia, Middle Colonies and Carolina Tidewater Regions by German Palatines and Scotch-Irish

1720-1750, Conflict between Germans and The English/Welsh colonists caused Germans to settle westward at Lancaster, Conestoga and York, also southeast to Maryland and Virginia

1733-1735, The War of the Austrian Succession

1740, Swiss and Germans settle Bucks, Berks and Northampton counties in Pennsylvania

Germany 1750-1800 Factors Influencing Emigration and Migration

1750, Flat boats invented for navigation on inland waters

1750, Cumberland Gap was discovered

1750, Immigration deflected from New York to Philadelphia

1750's, French and Indian Wars

1760-1790, Revolutionary War period

1764, South Carolina settled by Germans

1775, The following passages were established west through eastern mountains:

Canada via Hudson River and Lake Champlain

Ohio via Mohawk River and Lake Ontario

Ohio via Susquehanna River and Nonongahela River

Ohio via Potomac River and Monongahela Rivers

Ohio via Roanoke and Kanawha Rivers

Germany 1800-1830 Factors Influencing Emigration

A rise in food prices.

Asian Cholera epidemics

Decline in the economy affected farmers and small businesses who were no longer able to exchange goods for services.

The cost of marriages increased in most of Germany. 1 out of every 5 children born out of wedlock.

Germany 1830-1845 Factors Influencing Emigration

The economy was unable to support Germany's dense population.

Taxes and the cost of getting married increased.

Remaining in Germany meant farmers and small business people had to settle for lower

standard of living, which they wouldn't do.

As land was divided among each generation, the size decreased, making it difficult to support families.

Germany's poor social conditions included an increase in briths and deaths.

Increase in the printed material and letters from family and friends in America, made Germans aware of free land and no taxes in America.

Additional cholera epidemics.

There was a threat of Revolution in Germany.

Germany 1845-1900 Factors Influencing Emigration

1845, Potato faminie. Yes, in Germany too!

The German Revolution of 1848 failed.

An extended railway system made it cheaper and easier to leave from Hamburg or Bremen.

Some German governments paid passages for criminals and people on welfare.

Whole communities were emigrating.

1860-1864, Emigration decreased during the Civil War in America.

1863-1869, Emigration increased because of conflicts in Germany.

1871, Emigration decreased in 1871 when Germany became an Empire.

1871-1885, Emigration increased because of the U.S. Homestead Act.

Compare these dates / reasons to the time your ancestor emigrated.

Emigrants from Baden-Wuerttemberg are discussed at several sites, among them: The place to start, of course, is the local church. One attempts to discover clues to emigration. Municipalities may have information, as well, in local town registries. Much of this information is on file with the LDS Family History Center at, including police posts, toll bridges, rivers and streams navigated, police files at the port of emigration, and of course, ships passenger lists.

Emigration from Bremen:

Another site to investigate is located at, and at


Emigrants to Australia contains a lot of info about the trials of emigration that those in North America should read.